It’s Time to Refocus the Punishment Paradigm

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on 07/10/2017 by Adam Gelb and Barbara Broderick

Any parent can tell you that timeouts, groundings, and other punishments only go so far in encouraging good behavior.

If kids are scolded over and over again, the reprimands can lose their effect: Walls go up, and cooperation goes down. But throw in a few high-fives or thumbs-ups to recognize a nice job clearing the dishes or picking up after a baby sister, and attitudes may brighten — and actions may begin to improve.

It’s basic human behavior, the circuitry of motivation. Everybody needs to hear words of encouragement — including those in our criminal justice system.