commentary and current events, neurodivergence, the creative process

Punishments Don’t Change Behavior. They Change the Costs of Behavior.

Here’s a conversation we’re not ready to have:

Punishments do not change behavior. Punishments only change the costs of behavior.

For example: Say that your older child is teasing, tormenting, bullying or otherwise picking on your younger child. In an attempt to stop this behavior, you tell Older Child, “if you treat Younger that way again, you’ll lose computer privileges for a week.”

A few hours later, Younger is in tears. You confiscate Older’s phone, expecting to “teach them a lesson” that results in a behavior change.

But what is the lesson? How will it be learned? For that matter, how exactly was it taught?

Image: Blog post title image.
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