Application examples of method 2. Punishment

Method 2. Punishment

This is everyone’s favorite method. If the behavior is wrong, we first of all think about punishment. Scolding a child, spanking a dog, cutting wages, imposing a fine on a company, persecuting dissidents, invading a country, and so on. But punishment is a rather crude way of changing the message. In fact, in most cases punishment does not help at all.

Before considering what can and cannot be achieved by punishment, let us note what happens when it is applied and has no effect.

Let’s say we punish a child, a dog, or an employee for some behavior, and this behavior occurs again. Do we say “Hmm, the punishment didn’t work, why not try something else?” No. We increase the punishment. If the reprimand does not help, try the slap. If your child brought a diary with bad grades, his bike is taken away from him. And if the next time the diary is bad again, the ice cube is also taken from him. Your employees do not show due promptness. Threaten them. Does not help?

Cut their pay.

Still no result? Stop paying salaries, fine, prosecute! Whip does not change the behavior of a heretic? You can try the Spanish boot or the rack.

The worst thing about increasing punishment is that there is truly no limit to this.

The search for such punishment, which would be effective, is not found among monkeys and elephants, but has occupied people at all times known to history, and perhaps even from prehistoric times.

One reason why punishment usually doesn’t work is because it doesn’t coincide with the unwanted behavior; it arises after, and sometimes, as in the case of judicial legislation, much later.

Therefore, the subject may not form a connection between the punishment and his previous actions; in animals this connection is never formed, and in humans it is usually not given either. If a thief’s finger came off every time they steal, and a misparked car caught fire, I think theft and parking tickets would be virtually non-existent.

Even if the subjects understand what they were punished for, they cannot currently reduce their punishment just because they cannot change their actions in the past. Now you can do nothing with the bad grades in the diary that you have already received, so a child who is punished by his parents has no choice but to receive punishment.

In method 2, just as in method 1, the subject does not learn how to change behavior. Punishment will not teach a child how to get better grades.

The most that the punisher can expect is that the child’s motivation will change: the child will try to change future behavior in order to avoid future punishment.

Learning how to change future behavior in order to avoid its consequences in the future is beyond the understanding of most animals. If a hunter catches his pointing dog, intended for hunting birds, and beats him for chasing rabbits, then the dog does not know which of the previous actions causes punishment. She will become more afraid of the owner, which from now on may allow him to call the dog away when he chases rabbits. Whipping by itself will not affect bullying, rabbits.

By the way, cats seem to be particularly dumb at associating punishments with their crimes. Like birds, they just get scared and don’t learn anything when they’re bullied, which is why cats are said to be difficult to train. They really can’t be trained in punitive ways, but they are very lively when trained on positive reinforcement.

Punishing or threatening it does not help the subject in learning to change the current behavior. If the unwanted behavior is so strongly motivated that the subject needs to continue it (stealing food when hungry, being a member of a group during adolescence), then punishment and its threats teach him not to get caught. In punishment mode, elusiveness builds up rapidly—an unfortunate situation in the family setting, but not as pronounced in society as a whole. In addition, the influence of repeated or severe punishment has some very unseemly aspects: fear, rage, resentment, even hatred in the punished, and sometimes in the punisher too. These mental states are not conducive to learning (unless your goal is to teach the subject fear, rage, and hate –

emotions that are sometimes specially developed in terrorists).

One of the reasons why we consider punishment to be effective is that sometimes the behavior that led to the punishment stops – if the subject understands which of the actions is punished, if the motivation for this action is small, if the fear of future punishment is great, and finally, most importantly, if the subject can control the behavior (for example, punishment cannot help when the child wets the bed). But a child who has been scolded when he first painted a wall with colored pencil can be quite successfully weaned from spoiling the house. A person who cheated on income tax and was fined for it may not try to do it again.

Punishment can successfully stop any behavior at its inception, if it is noticed early and has not become an ingrained habit, and if the punishment itself is news to the subject, a surprise to which the person or animal has not lost sensitivity.

During my entire upbringing, my parents punished me only twice (and only scolding me), once every six years for petty theft and once every fifteen years for skipping school and making everyone worry, thinking that I was kidnapped. The extreme rarity of the punishment contributed greatly to the success. Both types of behavior stopped immediately.

If the punishment was effective in stopping the behavior, then this sequence of events is a powerful reinforcer for the punisher.

In the future, the punisher seeks to resort to punishment again. I have always been struck by the great faith that some people have in the efficacy of punishment. I have seen it manifest and defended by discipline-struggling schoolteachers, superb athletic coaches, bossy bosses, well-meaning parents. Their own punishing behavior can be sustained by meager successes, drowning in a quagmire of not so good results, and can persist for a long time, despite the fact that logic suggests otherwise – despite the presence in the same school of other teachers, other trainers, other business leaders , other generals, presidents or parents, whose example shows that it is possible to achieve the same or better results completely without the use of punishment.

Punishment is often used as a kind of revenge.

The punisher may not care whether the behavior of the victim changes or not, he or she only takes revenge, and sometimes not even on the punished person, but on society as a whole. Think of the stagnant officials who, with hidden pleasure, with the help of barely noticeable tricks, delay or prevent you from obtaining a permit, loan or library pass; you are punished, and so are they.

Punishment is a reinforcer for the punisher, as it demonstrates and helps to maintain a dominant position. Until the moment when the guy you grows so much that he can resist his rude father, the father considers himself the strongest (main) and is such in fact. This, in fact, may be one of the main motives underlying a person’s desire to punish: to establish and maintain a dominant position, the punisher may be primarily interested not in certain behavior, but in obtaining evidence of his dominant position.

Hierarchy of dominance, the struggle for it and its verification are the most essential feature of all social groups, from flocks of geese to governments. But, apparently, only people have learned to use punishment in order to first of all receive a reward in the form of a dominant position. So when you are about to apply a punishment, think about whether you want the dog, child, spouse, employee to change this behavior? In this case, it is a learning problem, and you must be aware of the limitations of punishment as a teaching device. Or do you really want to win back? In this case, you should look for more useful self-reinforcement.

Or maybe what you really want is for a dog, a child, a spouse, an employee, the people of a neighboring country, etc. did not disobey? Whatever it manifests itself in, do you want the subject to stop going against your will and judgment? In this case, it is a struggle for dominance, and it lies on your conscience.

Feelings of guilt and shame

Guilt and shame are forms of self-punishment. It’s hard to find another feeling as unpleasant as the cold hand of guilt squeezing your heart; this type of punishment is a purely human invention.

Some animals, primarily dogs, of course, may show embarrassment or shame (for example, if they accidentally get dirty in the house). But I don’t think there are any who spend time feeling guilty about past actions.

The degree of guilt we attribute to ourselves varies widely.

One. one feels relaxed and satisfied after committing a crime, while another feels guilty while holding chewing gum in their mouth. Many people do not experience guilt and shame in their daily lives, not because of their perfection and not because of their complete insensitivity, but because they react to their own behavior in different ways. If they have done something in the past that has given them trouble, they will not do it again. Others make the same mistake over and over again—behaving in the most stupid way in society, saying nasty things to those they love—despite the fact that they

the next day always experience a feeling of incredible shame. As a method of changing behavior, shame is on a par with spanking and any other form of punishment – it is not very effective, as it comes too late.

So, if you are a person who punishes yourself in this way (and most of us are prone to this, remembering what we did in early childhood), you should be aware that this is a method 2 solution, and not necessarily what you need. You may have good reasons to want to get rid of the behavior that makes you feel guilty, but then you can achieve greater success through a different method or combination of methods, rather than self-punishment.

Application examples of method 2. Punishment

It is rarely effective and its effect diminishes with repetition, but it has a wide range of uses.


Method of influence

Roommate all over the place

throwing dirty things

Scream and scold. threaten

pick it up and throw it away

clothes or do it

The dog in the yard barks all night

Come out, hit her or douse her

water from a hose when she barks

(NB: it is possible that the dog

will be so glad to see you that

forget about the punishment.)

Children are too noisy in the car

Click on them. Threaten.

Turn around and give a slap

Husband usually comes home

f bad mood

Get on the path of struggle. burn it down

dinner. Get angry, swear


Wrong kick while playing


Curse everything in the world

lose your temper, beat yourself up

every wrong beat

Striking or lazy employee

Scold, scold, mostly

way in front of everyone else.

Threaten to take a pay cut, or

do it

Disgust at gratitude


Punish yourself by procrastinating

and at the same time feeling guilty.

(This won’t help, but you can


The cat climbs on the kitchen table

Beat and/or kick out of the kitchen

Rude bus driver brought out

you out of yourself

Remember his number, write

complaint to the bus company,

get it translated

to another job so that

received a reprimand or to


An adult offspring who

your opinion should live

alone, wants again

settle down with you

Let this adult

baby live with you, but do

his or her life is completely


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