Commonly Used Counterproductive Approaches
PDF of Counterproductive Approaches
Every salesperson knows not to alienate, but adults too often talk to young people in ways that prompt negative feelings. Negative feelings stop any DESIRE to do what the adult would like young people to do. People do good when they feel good, not when they feel bad or when they feel coerced.
- CREATING NEGATIVES
The brain thinks in images, not in words. When people tell others what NOT to do, what follows the “don’t” is what the brain images. Always communicate in positive terms of what you DO want. “Don’t run in the hall” becomes “We walk in our hallways.”
- RELYING ON RULES
Rules are meant to control, not to inspire. Rules are necessary in games, but between people rules create adversarial relationships because they create an enforcement mentality. A more effective approach is to refer to responsibilities.
- AIMING AT OBEDIENCE
Obedience does NOT create desire. A more effective approach is to promote responsibility. Obedience then follows as a natural by-product.
- BEING REACTIVE
Rather than reacting to inappropriate behavior, it is far more effective and less stressful to employ a proactive approach so young people want to behave responsibly. The Raise Responsibility System specifically shows how to do it.
- CONFUSING CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT WITH DISCIPLINE
Management is the adult’s responsibility and has to do with teaching, practicing, and reinforcing procedures. Discipline has to do with impulse control and behavior and is the young person’s responsibility. Having clarity between these two prevents problems.
Adults too often assume young people know how to do what is expected of them without first teaching how to accomplish the task. A more effective approach is (a) teach the “how,” (b) practice, and (c) reinforce neural connections by practicing again. In this way, when young people are on their own, they will already have a procedure to follow.
- EMPLOYING COERCION
Although adults can control young people temporarily, no one can actually change another person. People change themselves. Coercion—in the form of bribes, threats, and punishments—are the least effective approach for long-term behavior change. NOTE: Noncoercion is not to be confused with permissiveness or not using authority.
- ANNOUNCING CONSEQUENCES
Announcing consequences for irresponsible behavior BEFORE they occur infers that young people will misbehave. This is a NEGATIVE APPROACH. Besides, not knowing is far more effective for handling irresponsible behavior. Whispering in the ear of a misbehaving young person, “Don’t worry about what will happen; we’ll talk about it later,” immediately redirects attention, stops the misbehavior, and takes no time away from the activity.
- NOT BEING CONSISTENT OR FAIR BY IMPOSING, RATHER THAN BY ELICITING
Consistency and fairness are important. However, imposing the same consequence on all involved is the least fair approach. For example, if one sibling or student is continually bullying another, is imposing the same consequence on both fair? Also, when a consequence is imposed—be it called logical or natural—young people are deprived of ownershipin the decision that affects them.A more effective and fairer approach is to ELICIT a consequence or a procedure that will help redirect impulses. This is easily accomplished by asking young people if they would rather be treated as individuals or as a group. They will prefer to be treated as individuals and have ownership in the decision. Using the procedure of ELICITING satisfies the consistency requirement, is in each person’s best interest, and is fairer than imposing the same consequence on all parties.
- RELYING ON EXTERNAL APPROACHES
We want to assist young people to be self-disciplined and responsible. Both traits require internal motivation, but rewarding appropriate behavior and imposing punishments are external approaches. They place the responsibility on someone else to instigate a change and, thereby, fail the critical test: How effective are they when no one is around? In addition, by rewarding kids with something they value (candy, stickers, prizes), we simply reinforce their childish values—when what we really should do is to teach them values that will last a lifetime.
- RELYING PRIMARILY ON PROGRAMS
Every few years a new program is introduced that becomes the silver bullet for “fixing” schools. For example, open classrooms were the cure-all. Large group lectures, small group discussions, and independent study were the “fix” for high schools. Teaching by Objectiveswas the rage. Where are these programs now?A current fashion is Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS or PBS), based on the old Skinnerian erroneous premise that rewarding desired behavior externally is the most effective way to reinforce the behavior. PBIS is an outgrowth of working with students who have special needs and where something tangible is used for reinforcement. But when a youngster has done what was expected and anticipates receiving the reward—but doesn’t—the youngster is “punished by rewards.” Most significantly, behaviorism neglects any mental processes. Its entire approach is EXTERNAL. Yet all behavior and learning require motivation—something that by its very nature is an INTERNAL characteristic.Both successful parenting and successful teaching rest with PEOPLE, rather than with programs. Two reasons for the success of Discipline without Stress and Parenting without Stress are that they build people skills and are TOTALLY NONCOERCIVE (although not permissive).