Blog Compassion

    Punishment is a big pain in the butt

    Punishment is a big pain in the butt.  Punishment, in scientific terms, is a word that describes a consequence that suppresses, reduces the frequency, or stops a behaviour from occurring again in the future.  It is future behaviour that determines if a consequence is punishing.  Does the behavior stop happening or reduce the frequency of occurring as a result of a consequence?  Yes – then the consequence has been punishing.  No – then the consequence may have been aversive but it was not punishing.

    Based on the definition of punishment, here is why we think it is a huge pain in the butt.

    • Punishment must be repeated frequently to remind the learner to avoid their mistake and you have to be there to punish every single occurrence.
    • Punishment doesn’t teach the learner anything.
    • Learners with little confidence will wither.
    • With punishment, you can’t control what the learner learns.
    • Punishment can damage the relationship between punisher and the learner.
    • Punishment can accelerate aggression by suppressing all warning signs. For example, it can teach a dog to forgo looking away, moving away or growling and teach the dog to go right for the bite.

    Punishment is actually a whole lot of work and has so much potential for going sideways.

    Fortunately, Kindred Connection offers you an alternative; it’s called reinforcement of behaviours.  Combining management of the environment with reinforcement of good choices always equals a healthy, happy learner who is willing to work with you out of choice.

    The best part?  There is no negative fall-out from using reinforcement to teach your happy learner.  Oh, and did we mention it is way more fun for you, too?