//Rewards and Punishments vs Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems

Rewards and Punishments vs Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems

If you work with kids or have kids of your own, then you know it’s a jungle out there for kids with social, emotional, and behavioural challenges.  And it’s not a walk in the park for parents, educators, mental health professionals, staff in facilities, or law enforcement professionals either. Working with kids who have behaviour challenges is tough.

Punitive practices are counterproductive

Punitive practices such as detentions, suspensions, expulsions, restraint and seclusion are counterproductive, and with some kids those practices can propel them down the very costly and unnecessary pipeline to prison.

Experience shows that “rewards and punishments” have little impact on long term behaviour change. Educators, professionals and parents need better options to influence long term and lasting changes in behaviour.

We need to change our approach to challenging behaviour and end the counterproductive REDSS practices in schools (Restraint, Expulsion Detention, Suspension, and Seclusion). These interventions solve no problems and teach no skills.

We want to suggest 4 things you can do, now.

1. Challenge the view that: “kids do well if they want to do well”

Challenge the view that Kids do well if they want to do well: that notion isn’t supported by the research that has accumulated on behaviourally challenging kids over the past 40-50 years. This view of behaviour characterises kids as:

  • Attention-seeking
  • Manipulative
  • Coercive
  • Unmotivated
  • Limit-testing
  • “He’s yanking my chain”
  • “He’s pushing my buttons”
  • “He’s going to have to hit rock bottom before he learns how to swim”
  • “He needs to learn who’s boss

Those characterisations, simply lead to interventions aimed at making kids want to do well and modifying their behaviour, primarily through rewarding and punishing.  It doesn’t work.

2. Change your view to: “kids do well if they can do well”

Under this view of behaviour if the kid could do well, he or she would do well…so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with what the research tells us is really getting in the way: lagging skills and unsolved problems. A link to the research is here.

We help kids a whole lot better when we focus on solving those problems and teaching those skills than when we focus primarily on modifying the behaviours that those problems and lagging skills are causing.

Many popular interventions neither solve problems nor teach skills, including stickers, time-out, privilege loss, detention, suspension, expulsion, spanking, restraint, and seclusion.

3. Familiarise yourself with non-punitive, non-adversarial interventions

Instead, familiarise yourself with the many non-punitive, non-adversarial interventions that focus on relationship-building, communication, skill-enhancement, and collaboration.

You’ll find extensive resources on one approach called Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) here. Other non-punitive, non-adversarial approaches, including Social Thinking, are listed here.

4. Attend training

The founder of Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS), Dr Ross Greene, is coming to Australia in June/July to conduct training on the CPS model.

You can purchase tickets and find out more information here.

Contact us if you have any questions or want us to Invoice you on (02) 5105 5262 or email [email protected]

Our thanks to Lives In The Balance and Dr Ross Greene.

By |2019-05-13T11:06:41+10:00April 25th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Rewards and Punishments vs Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems

About the Author:

Ah, a describe yourself box. I have many "labels", a therapist, an educator, a husband, a father, a business person... but I don't believe in defining people by labels, let alone myself! How’s this... I’ve always been intrigued by the role key people play in the course of our life, especially the way they shape our beliefs and values. Significant relationships change you and change the way you relate to others. Well they have me. A few significant relationships in my life have encouraged me to believe, that despite my flaws, I’m at my best, when I encourage others to be the best they can be, to learn from their setbacks and to seize their opportunities. Having a positive impact on the lives of others, that to me is a legacy worth striving for, and after all, it’s my legacy that will define me.