I came across a website devoted to helping kids fix behavioral problems – not by punishing them – but by collaborating with them to create solutions. I love it. All their material is open access.
There has never been a better time in human evolution to understand and help behaviorally challenging kids…because we’ve never known as much as we do right now about why and when they’re challenging and what they really need from us.
-Dr. Ross Greene
Dr, Greene is correct – a punitive approach to behavior does not work. We need to teach people how to help kids instead.
Which brings me to the problem of bullying. You all know – that’s my mission. To help stop bullying.
If you have read my book or taken any of my free online courses – you will know – I don’t teach people to punish. I teach people how to positively reward the behavior you want and how to eliminate the behavior you don’t want.
How to do this is established science and we should be using it to help kids.
Punishment or negative reinforcement – is still reinforcement. To get unwanted behavior to stop – you don’t reward, you redirect.
I used to do training programs for animal care givers. One of the analogies I used to give is that – you can’t teach a cat to not scratch things. They literally need to scratch things. So instead of trying to get them to not do things, you help them learn how to do what they need to do – in a way that helps them and doesn’t hurt others.
This approach – not control – but help – works. It’s compassionate. It’s humane. It’s science based. And we need to start being more intentional in what we teach and how we teach it.