Reward v’s Punishment
My daughter would often ask me, “Why do the naughty kids get all the lollies?”
“I do everything right and I never get one!”
Then she would proclaim, “I am going to be naughty to get noticed and get a lolly!”
While I understand her logic, I thought it best to go to the school and speak with the teacher who was more focused on controlling the bad behaviours, while ignoring the good.
We had a robust conversation about the importance of balance, and I expressed the need to recognise good behaviour, so the others in the class would know what is expected.
I did appreciate the opportunity to be a parent who spoke up.
I have spent my whole parenting life, wondering why punishment is thought to be so powerful and used more than reward?
Ending up in many management roles, I often used my daughter’s analogy to explain my type of leadership.
I am more inclined to ignore the bad behaviour for a time and then take something away while acknowledging the good behaviour and rewarding those who try.
As a parent, I was more inclined to balance learning from my mistakes, always talking about right and wrong and the consequences of both. Reward came from achieving goals and celebrating with a cuddle, clap or doing something fun together.
When a point needed to be made, I was more inclined to take things away.
Like the time my son was being defiant and not wanting to come out of his room, so we could leave for an appointment. No amount of talking, reasoning would work, so I resorted to taking away his train. After 3 warnings, I put his train on top of the fridge. He could not believe I had done what I was saying I would do. I followed through, something a lot of parents are afraid to do. To this day, he remembers the lesson and often reminds me of the train incident. Being punished by losing his prize possession was enough to never have to take this action again.
I would always be told by other mums that my children were so well behaved and that I was lucky. I am here to share with you, it had nothing to do with luck. My children learnt as I learnt, we cared for each other and talked everything out. Making time for each other to express our needs is what got us through the ups and downs of life. I learnt to understand how they thought, and worked with their emotions, with their individual love languages.
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