Oct 4, 2012

No Punishment?

Recently, we had an interested question sent to us on our Facebook page:

"Does this program promote no punishment for bad behavior? I don't get this program?"

We responded, and would like to elaborate to our readers here.

First off, to simply say "no," that P.E.T. is not an advocate of punishment would only be giving half of the answer. The use of the term "bad behavior" is a major underlying issue here. P.E.T. encourages parents not to view behaviors as "bad" or "good" because such labeling does not encourage children to change their behavior, among other things (at least, not in the long run!). Given the idea that all behaviors are simply attempts to get a certain need met, we can view things from a different frame of mind. 

For example, in a traditional sense, a screaming child would likely be seen as "behaving badly". But consider that this child is screaming for a reason. Active Listening is the way to find that reason behind the commonly misunderstood behaviors of a child, or of anyone for that matter. This child is experiencing a problem or obstacle to getting his or her need met. She might be hungry, tired, in need of attention/affection, feeling unsafe or insecure, etc. It would be absurd to think that a child could communicate these feelings in an effective manner; especially considering that many adults still struggle from doing this. The question at hand then becomes: Why punish a child for expressing an unmet need?

Our response to the question on Facebook sums it up:

P.E.T. does not promote punishment of any kind, but the most important part of this is the reasoning behind it. Being commonly mistaken as "passive parenting", P.E.T. does not reject the use of punishment simply because "it's bad." When parents begin to look at their child's behaviors as attempts to get a certain need met, they can begin to realize that their children aren't deliberately "misbehaving" in order to upset their parents. On the contrary, children are desperately seeking approval from their moms and dads. When we look at a screaming child and think: "they're behaving bad," this is when the parent-child relationship gets into real trouble. In actuality, children are commonly seeking fulfillment of some need that they don't know how to express in any other way. 

As for the punishment factor, years of psychological and neurological research has proven that using control to manipulate the behavior of your children (or anyone) has serious consequences on the relationship between parent and child. In the short term, punishment can be a quick fix and often does work. But in the long term, it's effects turn out to be quite the opposite of what punishment aims to achieve. Case in point: teenage-hood! 
What are your thoughts on this? We'd love to hear from you. Please feel free to comment below or send us an email to: family@gordontraining.com

by: Selena George, P.E.T. Program Manager

1 comment:

  1. Ok I would love your help I have a child I babysit and I know his parents (as I do as well) believe in this type of parenting. the boys parents simply ignore when he does the things I am having trouble with and expect his sisters to give in and give him what he wants, which I can not simply ignore nor can his teachers at school who have a hard time handling his behavior as well. Some of the things he does (He is 7) are:
    screaming and crying every time he does not get his way.
    Getting in smaller kids faces when playing a game, running, jumping (anything he feels he is competing in)etc. and yelling Im the winner yours a loser.
    Hitting, kicking, smacking (he will get next to someone he is mad at including a adult and swing his arms around and kick until he makes contact) and then when you try and discuss it with him he says he can not control him self.
    I understand that his parents need to be more active in helping him work out these behaviors. But as a care taker I really have no control over that I just have to figure out how to deal with the behaviors while he is in my care, but also while maintaining the safety and security of the other children in my care. I also dont want the other children to think these behaviors are good ways to get attention.


Thanks for commenting! - P.E.T.