Beyond Sunday

First the Broccoli Part 6: Effective Teaching and Discipline, Preparation

December 13, 2023 King of Kings Church
Beyond Sunday
First the Broccoli Part 6: Effective Teaching and Discipline, Preparation
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wondered how to effectively motivate your child? This episode of Beyond Sunday with our returning guest, Dr. Tim Riley, author of "First the Brocolli Then the Ice Cream" is going to help you to discard punishment-driven methods and embrace the power of positive reinforcement.

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Thanks for listening!

Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to another episode of Beyond Sunday. This is the parenting podcast edition, and I am back in the studio with Dr Tim Riley. We're going to continue our conversation on the book that he's written for Subrata Lee than the ice cream, and he is currently in the process of revising. And so, dr Tim, welcome back. Thank you, glad to be here, and so how's the revising going? Give us an update there, painfully. What does that mean?

Speaker 2:

Well, it always takes longer than I think it's going to take, and I'm one of the areas I'm expanding into as part of the revision is media in general, social media in particular, and once I started diving into the research a little bit, found out there was more there than than maybe I had anticipated and I want to follow the idea of doing it well rather than doing it quickly. So, yeah, I'm spending a lot more time with primary source research, trying to flesh it out a little bit.

Speaker 1:

Way to go. Doing things with excellence takes more work, but this is a huge topic and very substantial for parenting. Are you familiar with ScreenStrong? No, that's something that my wife and I have gotten into and it's just that whole idea of like, how do you parent well with screens, and a lot of that is like get rid of the screens as much as you possibly can, and they're the ones that you have to use. How do you do this Well? So there's a lot of implications of that. So, thanks to diving into that, that's going to be a great addition into the, the new revision. I hope so. See, well, we left off, kind of like still in in some of the. We're moving into practical, but into a lot of like the foundational parts of, of parenting from your book, and so we're going to continue today with the motivation, putting motivation into motion. So get it started, please, okay, so for me.

Speaker 2:

I'm a pretty simple guy, so I tend to think in terms of let me have a story or an analogy or something that makes sense to me. Uh, that explains some of the primary principles. So when we're thinking about behavior and motivation for me, I always use the idea of chocolate, as that's a motivator for me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, what kind of um, what kind of chocolate do you prefer?

Speaker 2:

So, I'm I'm a big fan of, like Hershey bars and particularly the ones with almonds. Oh, okay, okay, that's my, my candy bar of choice. All right, there you go so you know, in the case of some circumstances we might actually be talking about chocolate and other cases we might be talking about extending curfew or some other kind of privilege or something, but we're using the idea of chocolate as a stand in for the general issue of motivation.

Speaker 1:

Okay.

Speaker 2:

So I like chocolate.

Speaker 1:

Me too.

Speaker 2:

Right. So if you want to get me to do something, if you want to motivate me, a good way to do that would be to say Tim, I have a Hershey bar with almonds, oh yes, and I just need you to do something for me and I'll give you the Hershey bar, right. So that's the first the broccoli, then the ice cream, sort of thing. In this case, first the chore, then the chocolate and I said great. I'm interested, I'd like chocolate. What do I need to do? And you say easy, all you need to do is 500 pushups.

Speaker 1:

Whoa, whoa Easy. Okay, am I still interested?

Speaker 2:

Not so much. Does that mean I don't like chocolate, no, it just means that the exchange rate is off. What you're asking for form from me doesn't seem like it's worth the effort to get the reward. So very often we end up asking kids to do things without much reward attached to it and they're maybe not as motivated as we think we do, and so they think, well, they don't like that thing, whatever. But it's not that, it's just that the exchange rate is off. So if, on the other hand, you said, tim, I have this Hershey bar, I'll give it to you If you do something for me, and I say, okay, what you say five pushups. Now I'm kind of interested because I can do five pushups.

Speaker 1:

Oh, big pause, Two pushups.

Speaker 2:

But now we're getting into territory where the task matches up with what you're offering. So I start with two. And maybe I give you two and I get the chocolate, I get to taste the chocolate, I get to feel the reward, and then the next day it's three and then five, and maybe we work our way up to 500. Maybe we don't Right, but the fact is you have to find an exchange rate where the kid is willing to put in the effort to access the reward, and then you build from that point up, right.

Speaker 1:

So the difference with my kids? It could be like hey, I need you to put away your shoes and coat in the mudroom, rather than we're going to clean up the whole house. Yeah, okay, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And once you're done with that, then we can do something fun and then maybe we go on to the next task, if it's going to be. I got a five-year-old kid and we're going to spend the whole day cleaning house and then you can have a few minutes of TV time. You're not going to get much effort for very long. And it's going to turn into more likely, a battle or resentment or other kinds of things.

Speaker 1:

Right and threatening of like well, you're not going to get your TV time, and then screaming Right, and then it turns into a punishment-driven approach instead of a reward-driven approach. Excellent. Okay, so chocolate is one way to look at it. You have in your book. You have some other things on motivation work with a paycheck. Well, let's hope so.

Speaker 2:

So here, let me take the other side of the 500 push-ups. Okay, so maybe you really need 500 push-ups from me. I do, that's the thing I do. So you say, look, I really like you to do 500 push-ups here.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

And I have a certified check for $10,000 that I will give you if you do 500 push-ups.

Speaker 1:

Over time, or do I have to do it all at once?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Presumably in some amount of time Okay. Now I still don't think I can do 500 push-ups, but you're going to get one heck of an effort out of me to try to do that If you're dangling that check in front of me and I may be able to do more than I even thought I could do If you're offering me that kind of an incentive. And it doesn't imply that you should offer your kids big cash rewards. It just means that you have to find the balance point between what you're offering to make it enticing enough to them to do the task that's involved to get it but it's always better to find ways to get them access to the things that they want and to establish the relationship between do something, get something. Better to get a smaller amount of compliance than a bigger amount of resistance.

Speaker 1:

Better to get a smaller amount or a bigger amount of compliance than a smaller amount of resistance. Did I say that wrong? Yeah, that's pretty close, close enough, okay. So the goal is to get some victories.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you get some motion, get some movement, some momentum. Like I said, one of the terms that psychology has stolen from physics is behavioral momentum. Right, and behavioral momentum is just get the behavioral ball rolling, get some action, make something happen, and it's a reliable principle. In fact, salespeople will call this the foot in the door technique, that you're a lot more likely to get somebody to do a big task for you if they've already agreed to and completed a smaller task. You've got your foot in the door and once you get momentum, once you get things rolling, then you can usually get subsequent tasks, compliance with subsequent tasks, more easily Okay.

Speaker 1:

So when you get your foot in the door you get things started, kind of like a Mormon or a Jehovah's Witness approach, just like, let me in the door. We'll get this conversation started just like that you don't have to wear a white shirt though. No, you don't, you don't and I see this too also with like. I was just talking to my son the other day at basketball practice. He's really frustrated. He's a third grader, so he's new into basketball. It's the second season ever doing it. Second grade year was hilarious.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

And so my son is very fast, he loves to go fast and he's reckless, and so that helps him often in sports, because being fast is great, but in basketball it's really hard to finish a layup when you're going very fast, especially before you're coordinated. And so, like I was talking to him just yesterday of like, but when we're at home, let's move that hoop down to seven feet and then we can go to eight feet, then we can go to nine feet. And he's like, why would I do that? I play on 10 feet. And I said, well, you're pretty frustrated once you miss two or three at 10 feet, don't you? And he said, yeah, and you do want to keep trying. No, I said, well, we need, we need success. Just make five at seven feet and then move it to eight feet. So there's some similarity to that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, success is a big motivator. Right and again nothing.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

I don't feel like I get the benefit of my you know, 10 years of education if I don't throw out some terminology once in a while. So this is what's referred to as successive approximations. Right To successive approximations is where each step is getting us a little closer to the thing we want. So instead of saying I'm going to set the bar really high and I'm going to just keep pounding on it, regardless of these long strings of failure, I'm going to say I'm going to set the bar a little bit lower, have some success, enjoy the reinforcing, the positive, rewarding value of success, and then move the bar up a little bit, got it. So you're going to set it at seven feet, but you're not going to leave it at seven feet. You're going to say, okay, now we got it going a little bit here and now there's a better chance that you get the right effort and also a better chance of a degree of success, but also some tolerance for failure at the next level.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And are they keep working at it if they can remember the previous success?

Speaker 1:

Got it, and so that was something like a successful pizza making or something like that.

Speaker 2:

Successive approximations.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I think I nailed it. So this moves us into. Like the title of your book is first the broccoli, then the ice cream. What if we flip those? What does that do to us with motivation?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So again, think of it in terms of a story. So suppose you work for a company, a big corporation, that makes this deal for you. We would really really like it and deeply appreciate it if you come to work every day and do your job. But even if you don't, we're going to stop by your house once a month and drop off your paycheck. Really Great if you could put in some effort. But if you don't, okay, we're going to still deliver your paycheck. Now you're a pretty morally anchored guy and you might go to work for two weeks before you started finding other ways to spend your time. So for kids who are in a situation where they always have access to all of their privileges, no matter what, whether or not they're taking care of the things they've been assigned, whether or not they're following instructions or whatever, that's essentially. The deal they get is I don't have to show up for work and I still keep getting my paycheck. Why would they be any different than the rest of us? If you can get the rewards that you want, which for most kids is like access to all of the daily stuff, privileges and treats and everything they have access to, why go to work? And then we're surprised. And so the extreme example of this I see as the parents who come into the clinic and say I don't know what the problem is. I've done everything for this kid, I do everything for him every day. I take him to every sports program, I give him money to go to activities, I show up, I do all of these things for him and he still won't do the things I want him to do.

Speaker 1:

It's not surprising, right?

Speaker 2:

So for some reason, broccoli is not as appetizing after you've just finished your ice cream.

Speaker 1:

Right. So if you flip the title first the ice cream, then the broccoli are giving them everything they want. Now you're going to take something away? No, you're going to force them to the broccoli. No, yeah, Okay.

Speaker 2:

So you said, then the others so do you flip that over, right? Same company, same you, same job. Except now they say we really need you to come to work every day. But things are a little tight here right now. You know, after the pandemic it's been a little rough. You know, business is off a little bit. We think we're going to be able to pay you, but we're not really sure and we can't guarantee when it will be that we'll pay you. How long are you going to keep going to work?

Speaker 1:

Oh my goodness, we don't know how long it's going to be. It depends on what my options are. But I mean I'm going to start looking quick for something else.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And so if you have kids who, routinely, are doing what they should be doing, for the most part, right, they're toiling away, they're taking care of whatever their routine chores are, whatever their routine activities are, they're getting homework done, all of that, but they don't get very much recognition or response for that, or there's no systematic way to reinforce that behavior. That's the position they're in. It's like well, keep doing what you need to be doing, because it's your responsibility to do that, but we're not sure when or if we're going to pay you. We don't recognize that consistency of daily effort. Those are people who are not likely to keep showing up for work.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So if I thought of this in regards to my kids so this is like my kid I expect them to do the right thing every day, then, when they get home from school, to just do their homework before they jump into the game or their craft or whatever activity they have to do, that's always the expectation, but I never say thank you, I never praise them, I never cheer them on for doing the right thing. Eventually, they're going to start doing something. Is that what you're saying or is it something different?

Speaker 2:

That's close, okay.

Speaker 1:

Tell me the difference.

Speaker 2:

I talked a minute ago about momentum. You take away some of that momentum If we think in terms of, well, kids should just do what they should do because they're obligated to do that, they should just make this contribution to the family. That's part of their contribution. But by the same token, we expect to get paid at our own jobs. If we just do what we're expected to do, correct, right. If I show up, I see patients, I turn in my bills, I expect to get some money at the end of the month. If you go above and beyond, do something else, then I expect a promotion, a raise, something else. So part of the recognition of the fact that kids are taking care of business which is really a big part of what we want them to do is just show up and do what you're supposed to do. Is that we notice that. We recognize that Right. It's like, hey, thanks for getting your stuff done before you got your games out. I really appreciate it. There is absolutely no cost to giving kids a little pat on the back or praise, right. It doesn't cost you anything. It's inexhaustible. You never run out of it. And how many people do you know who would like nothing more on their job than to have someone tell them less often hey, you're doing a great job. Thank you for taking care of that Right.

Speaker 1:

You know I don't know any of those people, right? Yeah, so most people. It's not entirely natural to be encouraging, and so, whether you're kids or adults, I feel like we get more commands than encouragements normally.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. And it's particularly true if you've got a kid who is not well-behaved or, for example, in the case of kids with ADHD. If you look at how things happen for them in school, they get somewhere between six and 10 times as many directive corrective statements, things like stop that, put that down, turn around, keep your hands to yourself, whatever as they do, positive and praise statements.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And for other kids that ratio is reversed. Okay, right. So after a while, what they expect is this is the way my interactions with adults are going to look. I'm going to get corrected, I'm going to get directed, I'm going to get what I, and that's not all that much fun.

Speaker 1:

No.

Speaker 2:

And so they'll tend to shy away from those things. So I've done things where I've asked teachers to put a pile of paper clips on their desk you know kind of 25 paper clips and at the end of each hour you should have moved all of those paper clips from the left side of your desk to right. Each one of those paper clips represents a time when you told the kid in your class hey, great job. So as a parent, particularly have a younger child your goal is about five times as many positive and praise statements as directive and corrective statements.

Speaker 1:

That's wild.

Speaker 2:

And if it's hard for you to do that, then you know you put buttons or pennies in one of your pockets and move one to the other pocket each time you give a praise statement, or you know there are ways to change your own behavior in the direction of encouraging your kid's behavior.

Speaker 1:

All right. So let me repeat that five encouragements to every one corrective statement.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Okay and if and if you're like oh, I'm pretty good at this like just keep track of your own and see how you do within a given time, maybe not even a full day, but, like I know for me we don't do this too often because my kids are still young five, seven, nine but when we go to a restaurant it is like we were excited to go out to a restaurant and our kids are two to a certain extent, but I bet we average brown sir. Yeah, yeah, I bet they average, we average, I don't know 10 to 15 correctives.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Like sit up straight and then down, like quit watching the TVs. We're over here to any positive encouragement, yeah. So this, yeah, this is a big challenge in order to give 10 or five encouragements for every one corrective. That's going to require us to probably ignore some annoying behavior.

Speaker 2:

Or some annoying but tolerable behavior. But it also probably requires you to respond positively to some behaviors you might not think about responding to otherwise. Hey, you're doing a great job sitting quietly while we're waiting for the menus. I like the way you're keeping your hands off the table, whatever it is. I like the way you got your left foot in front of your right foot walking in the door. Find something to build on in a positive direction, just like setting the hoop at seven feet first, right Doesn't really help him in the game. You're building toward another behavior. So you find where that bar is, where the kid is able to perform, and then start reinforcing that and then gradually ask more each time out. We'll actually talk about restaurant behavior somewhere toward the end of this deal.

Speaker 1:

Oh, my goodness, all right, nice, so. So we've talked about this motivation, of like how to properly motivate. And if you ask me to do 500 pushups for a candy bar, that's not gonna happen. Same thing with our kids. We need to clean the whole house and then you'll get some TV time, like likely not gonna happen. But if it's hey, let's clean up this mudroom, or I need you to put clean off the kitchen table and then we'll play a card game, well then it's much more manageable.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and then when we're done with that, we're gonna go back and do some other stuff, but we're gonna take a break and do something fun for a minute.

Speaker 1:

Well, and then breaking that into smaller chunks also gives us more opportunities to cheer them on, because if the long goal is gonna take all day, that's hard and kids are gonna give up 42 times and our encouragement will likely be more encouragement to keep going rather than encouragement in what they've done.

Speaker 2:

Right, or you increase the chances that you're gonna have to say, okay, cut it out, we're working on getting on cleaning up the house right now, right. And then it turns into disciplinary interactions instead of sort of building on positive training.

Speaker 1:

So one of the things when I got to read your copy of the book, one of the things that we've done in our house was with tasks, like if the house is a mess and we gotta get ready for a company coming over or whatever, we'll actually write everything, like we won't start picking it up ourselves Well, I do, because I can't help myself. Then my wife is wise and she'll be like stop, and then we'll write down everything that's going on, like all the kids' stuff all over the house, or their shoes or their hoodies or their toys or whatever, and we write them all in tiny steps of paper and then we put them in a hat and the kids come over one by one and they grab one. Oh, that's pretty good. And then it says like, put away the pillow on the couch. And they run and they're excited and they put away the pillow and then they come back. We high five them way to go, grab another one, and they grab another one, and pretty soon each kid has done like 12 tasks and they've gotten encouraged and celebrated for every one of them. And then we also included those tasks some goofy things too that allow us to be goofy, like make a funny face with mom, and then they got runnin' fine mom, and be like you gotta make a funny face and there's like strange joy and encouragement in that too. Did you come up with that on your own or did you steal that? I don't remember. I'm sure we stole it.

Speaker 2:

Every good idea I'm thinking I might steal it, I might take it. I mean that's pretty good yeah.

Speaker 1:

Take it. But yeah, it helps us and all of a sudden something that is like going to be a fighting task turns into a fight. It turns into like 35 minutes of fun and then the house is picked up.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and so I mean you're teaching them those skills, but you're also teaching breaking the task down into smaller increments, working collaboratively with a group of people. There's lots of other skills being learned there, other than just putting the pillow back on the couch or shoving the toys under the bed to get them out of the. What are the dirty pans in the oven?

Speaker 1:

So this moves us into what I mean it.

Speaker 2:

I mean, a lot of what you're talking about there is in the thing that we get caught up in often as parents and is we're thinking in longer time span yes, yeah, which is appropriate and what we should be doing, but then we sort of imagine that our kids are operating the same way. I mean parents, effective parents are more sort of, I'd say, analog. You know, they look at things right. We're thinking in terms of you know the, the sweeping hands of time or whatever.

Speaker 1:

Kids are digital Okay.

Speaker 2:

They're, like you know, moment, next moment one man time next moment. And yet we tend to get caught up in you know saying, do this task, and then reminding them of what went wrong the last time they, you know, didn't get that task done or some other past Sin or infraction, or or you know how terrible their life is gonna be if they don't learn how to do this thing Exactly.

Speaker 1:

We give them that lecture. We're like well, when you become an adult, you're gonna have your boss is gonna say this needs to be done by Friday. Yeah, and if you don't have it done by Friday, then you'll lose your job.

Speaker 2:

Yes, like kids are. Like I'm seven, and it's Monday. Yeah, so so. So there's that. And I mean kids are as we said before, I think at one point. I mean kids operate basically in two time frames now and not now. Okay, right, one of those is important to him, one is not right there. They're operating basically where they live. And so when we start talking to them about these long-term consequences, or we deliver long-term consequences, not only does that not resonate very well with them but also makes us more likely to forget what we did. So did I say was grounded for one week or two, and what day was that anyway? And then he's kind of you forget that stuff or they say that's not what you said and you start to have arguments about those kind Of things. So the idea is deal with today's behavior today and move on right. No reason to borrow trouble. Each day has enough trouble for its own.

Speaker 1:

Oh wow, getting biblical on it. I like it you know, Okay so, as parents, we we have to think long-term in some ways, because we have schedules and we know when our kids doctors appointments are, when we have to pay our bills and all that kind of stuff. But kids are not thinking that way and and for them it's now and not now, right, okay so?

Speaker 2:

so our job is to take what we know about the future yes and bring it into today. Okay how does what I'm asking you today serve that purpose of making you more effective in the future? You can't explain that to them. They haven't been there yet. Right? It's just, you're dealing with the moment, building a skill toward something you know they're going to need in the future. So here's a way to think about long-term consequences. So suppose you take your son to the ballpark. You're gonna teach him how to hit a baseball. Yep, great, all right. So you put a bunch of balls in the car or you load up the equipment, you get a bat, you go out to the park, you stand them at the plate, you show him a grip. You know, here's how you hold the bat and here's how your stance. Got it, got it, got it. You go out to the mound. You throw him a pitch. He swings and misses. You say, hey, that's a nice try, bet, and we'll come back in two weeks and try it again, right? Oh To what? That's not a very good way to teach right now. When you try to impose these longer-term consequences or whatever, that's essentially what you're doing is you get one teaching interaction, one teaching event Over the entire duration of what that is. So if you're grounding a kid or Restricting them in some way. For weeks at a time you get one Teaching interaction out of that, as opposed to saying we're gonna deal with today, today we're gonna have this done before we go to bed and whatever way that means, and then we'll go on to the next day. Think back to what we talked about in earlier sessions, about just repetition, repetition is the most important variable in learning. You can't have a lot of repetition if you're doing everything in these kind of long-term things, and for kids at age five and seven, and to some extent at age nine, it's like now you know, the future is ten minutes from now, it's not ten years from now.

Speaker 1:

So what age can they start to? Does the future actually start to impact them where they can think a little bit longer?

Speaker 2:

Well, kids are developing all the time. I mean by that probably by the time they're age seven or so, you know, good beginning, have more of a concept of that and some of the ways that we help them learn how to do those things. So, if you, you know you have charts or you look at the calendar or right is like, well, we got this done today, we're gonna make a mark on the calendar today that says you got this done, or put a sticker on there or something. So there's an immediate reward, yeah, but then and at the end of the week we're gonna look at this and if we have enough stickers then we can do these extra things. So now you're helping them bridge the time gap Between the behavior today and longer-term outcomes and you're sort of training them to be more aware of those things.

Speaker 1:

Got it. And for parents who are like I, can't help but be futuristic, this is how God has made me and it, oh, I want my kid to be able to start thinking this way Is that 14? Is that 16? So In.

Speaker 2:

I mean I don't exactly know how to characterize this and our different ideas about how cognitive development happens. You know, by the time kids to get to be Probably late elementary, middle school they're better able to anticipate those things longer term in a realistic way. I mean kids are always able to say next year we're going to Disneyland and they have no idea when next year is. You know, they're just waiting for the day to roll around.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, like 165 sleeps.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but in terms of actually having a grip on full sort of Abstract reasoning, maybe the middle of high school, something for males in particular. A little later, yeah, and for some people maybe not that much at all. That you know it depends on it, depends on the kid, but you're always sort of probing that and seeing. You know if you're promising consequences that are too far out, they lose the connection between their behavior and the consequence and you're not really teaching anything well.

Speaker 1:

I think that's healthy for parents to hear, though, because each parent is wired differently and Some it's harder to just naturally live in the present and so to know that like it's not going to be until they're maybe Teenage to late teenage years that they can even start thinking this way. So Let that be your expectation, and if you have an exceptional child who can think like that a little earlier, that's unlikely but great. But for most of us let's day-to-day For a long time.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean think about. Think about a road trip that you've been on, right? Yes, like are we there? Are we there?

Speaker 1:

It's gonna be nine hours. Right, we just went to Green Bay a month ago and literally within 20 minutes of the drive how much longer?

Speaker 2:

It's like well yeah so, depending on how many times you have to use the bathroom, If they're struggling to manage the the time frame of Omaha to Green Bay, yeah, how much more are they gonna struggle to manage the time frame of in two months? This is gonna happen. I mean so that I mean it's not that they don't understand it conceptually, but it just from for most kids doesn't have that much impact on their current behavior. So it's not that you shouldn't talk about it, but if you're saying, if you behave like that, you know nobody's gonna want to play with you and you'll never get into a good college and graduate school is out of the question, you can't expect that to have much impact on whether or not they clean their room today. They don't care about that. It's not now right, right.

Speaker 1:

So then what? So then connect this to punishment okay.

Speaker 2:

So I mean, punishment is a big deal right, and that's a point of contention in a lot of places. If you look at, for example, dictionary definitions of discipline, a lot of them will use punishment as a primary Definer of what discipline is, and it's not. What discipline is. We're gonna talk in in more detail Going forward about you know what a better definition is, but here's a way to think about what punishment can do for you. So. So suppose You've been to Green Bay, wisconsin.

Speaker 1:

I have a group there.

Speaker 2:

I have not. Okay, I can't say I've missed it, but oh man. You just suppose, for the sake of argument, that I actually wanted to go to Green Bay. Yeah, you do, you do, and so I call you up here. Hey, I've decided to go up to Green Bay. Never been there. Can you give me some directions on how to get there?

Speaker 1:

Cheese curds, boo you, and beer, my man, that's when. Oh, like directions yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and so you know you're, you're a great guy and you say sure, let me help you out. Don't go to Des Moines, don't go to Portland, don't go to New Orleans, don't go. That's not a very good way to give directions. Essentially, that's what punishment does. Punishment tells your kid where not to go, what not to do. It doesn't tell them anything about what to do instead. So if you rely mostly or exclusively on punishment, you're in for a very long trip because the number of things that they should not do is very large. So are there times when the kid is heading off in the wrong direction and you need to stop that Absolutely. And that's what punishment is for. Punishment says basically whatever you just did, don't do that again. But if that's not followed up with, do this instead. Then you don't have a disciplinary interaction, you just have punishment. You don't have a complete teaching interaction. Punishment is designed to teach, build, refine positive behaviors, not just to stop or hold back, restrain negative behaviors. You can punish a kid into less bad behavior, but you can't punish them into more good behavior.

Speaker 1:

Wow, this feels like a bit of a hot take and maybe something that's going to take a second to understand. So you said you could punish a kid to stop doing the bad behaviors you don't want them to do. But you can't punish them into doing the behaviors you want them to do the positive ones that are going to make you happy and make your life a little bit more blissful.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so how do we?

Speaker 2:

Not to get overly like psychology jargon-ish but here he goes folks. By definition, punishment is anything that leads to lower probability that the same behavior will happen again in the future. Punishment makes a behavior less likely, right? So if you punish every single bad behavior, eventually all you're left with is good behaviors, but there's a really long list of potential bad behaviors. So instead of saying don't go to Chicago, don't go to Kalamazoo, don't go to Portland, don't go to New Orleans, you say let me tell you what to do. Do this, how do you get to creamy?

Speaker 1:

I turn on my ways GPS, which I've recorded my own voice giving the directions. You can do that on ways or you can ask me for mine. I'll text you mine and you will regret it after 20 minutes of driving with my directions. But yeah, I turn on my GPS. I go through Des Moines, through lovely Dubuque Dubuque is so lovely, I like Sure you wouldn't know it, but you drive through and it's beautiful and then through Wisconsin, through Madison and up to Green Bay. So yeah, so I would say, here's what you're going to want to do. You're going to want to go across Iowa, through Des Moines. Shortly after that you're going to head up towards Dubuque and then, once you get to Dubuque, head across through Madison and up to Green Bay. So that'd be the better way of giving those directions.

Speaker 2:

My GPS doesn't tell me don't turn here, right? Whatever you do, don't turn here. It says at the next traffic light do this Right.

Speaker 1:

It doesn't tell me what not to do and it says hang a Louis it can't Ways, just message me.

Speaker 2:

I'm really glad I don't ride with you.

Speaker 1:

I'll send it to you. Tim, you can use mine.

Speaker 2:

So one of the big, maybe the biggest problem with punishment is that it works. The problem is that it works temporarily Got it. So the example I use in the book is you have mom's got a kid who's going for a cookie in the cookie jar and she catches him. It's before dinner. She slaps the back of his hand no cookies before dinner. And he backs off. Right, because punishment leads to less behavior, it leads to a reduced effort to get the cookie, but the kid still wants a cookie. Oh, so bad, right. So as soon as he gets another opportunity, he's finding a way to get to the cookie jar. Mom finds him again and remembers all that punishment thing worked last time, but maybe it wasn't quite enough. So the tap on the back of the hand gets a little bit stronger. No cookies before dinner, but the kid still wants a cookie. So rather than saying, you know, if you wait till after dinner and you eat a good dinner, you can have the cookie, and using that as a motivator, she's now turned it into this point of contention. She's getting less bad behavior, but she's not eliminating the desire for that cookie. She's not giving an alternative behavior to achieve his goals. That's what teaching looks like. That's what a real disciplinary interaction looks like. So people get into this situation where and these are the parents who come to me is like I don't know what to do, right, I've taken away everything, right, and then in his room, for you know, a month and a half has had no privileges at all and still, you know, every time he gets out he misbehaves and does something else. I got nothing left. And they have nothing left because they've taken everything. They slapped the back of his hand so hard, they got nothing left to work with. And ordinarily, at some point, what that turns into is the kid becomes more resentful of the parent. Yeah, so it's more effort into trying to bootleg or sneak privileges instead of because they don't know how to get them in a more legitimate way Right, and they start avoiding the parent, because the parent represents mainly negative interactions. Every time I interact with the parent, it's, you know, it feels punishing to me, so I'm going to try to just not be around them. There's nothing positive about those interactions, it's a damaged relationship, or some other kids who are less I don't know aggressive. Well, just give up and get these kids who start to look more passive and more depressed because they don't know what to do, right, and you know, in other situations the kids are like well, there's no reason for me to stop misbehaving. What else are they going to do to me?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

They've already taken everything, yeah, and I have no you know no way to get it back. So really I got nothing to lose. You buy sneaking out of the house.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and then do they start to look for their encouragement in other avenues? Is this where it's like, but these friends will actually encourage me, these friends actually cheer me on these. Have they started being attracted to that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean people want to be. I mean, how much do you want to hang around with people who are not reinforcing, who don't say positive things to you? I mean, you know, those people who just have like a negative vibe all the time?

Speaker 1:

and everything they say to you is critical or Debbie.

Speaker 2:

Downers. Yeah, debbie, debbie Downers.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, poor Debbie's and Karen's out there. I'm very sorry I apologize, so that's it. Yeah, and she's not a donor at all. She's Debbie, delightful yeah.

Speaker 2:

There you go, so. So yeah, they'll start to. You know, kids are always going to find their way to a more reinforcing environment, right, or to one that makes sense to them. So yeah, if they've got nothing to be gained at home, then they'll start looking somewhere else. And the way to think about punishment is like you've got this momentum of you know, kind, no-transcript, negative or unproductive behavior. It's like a stone rolling downhill. Right, punishment stops it, but it doesn't do anything to turn it around. And as soon as you remove the punishment, what happens?

Speaker 1:

It starts rolling again Yep, it sure does.

Speaker 2:

So the way to think about punishment is more like bumpers on the bowling alley right, when you drift off, I'm gonna nudge you back in a positive direction. But the idea is to keep you moving somewhere, towards something that has some benefit for you, not just lock your life down. There's rarely anything productive about doing that. So discipline most often includes punishment. You're going the wrong way, you need to stop. But it concludes only when you have taught an alternative, more positive approach for the kid to accomplish what they want to do, or you've at least taught them the benefits of an appropriate behavior by returning their privileges to that right. So, it includes punishment, but it concludes with the training of an appropriate behavior.

Speaker 1:

Okay and that feels like success. So the next part of your book talks about positive discipline and we wanna kind of set the stage for this. We've talked a lot about motivation, we've got into some practical tools, but setting the stage for positive discipline, that almost feels like an oxymoron.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, not to me. I mean, to me, discipline is always positive. Oh, interesting. Because, every single disciplinary interaction with your child, from the first 30 second time out, when they're two years old or a year and a half old, all the way to the last time you take their car keys or ground them as an adolescent, ends exactly the same way. It ends with you saying hey, great job, thank you, and, by the way, here's your stuff back. Ah, okay, because you've provided an opportunity for them to exhibit some positive behavior, to do something, to demonstrate they're moving in the right direction and you've rewarded that positive behavior. That's when the disciplinary interaction ends. If it ends with punishment, that's not teaching, right? That's, I don't know. Control maybe, yeah, but we'll never have a good outcome.

Speaker 1:

Got it Okay. So this is a building thing too. It's not. There's no magic solution, there's no pill to just help you learn how to positively discipline. So get us going. What's the first step?

Speaker 2:

Well, the first step is learn all the stuff that we've learned already.

Speaker 1:

Oh boy, all right, so over the next I'm kidding, we're not gonna do that. So and if you haven't, if you're just jumping into this parenting podcast now, you should have stopped 35 minutes ago or whatever point we are at. But it's okay. Go back and listen to the first few episodes, the first I forget which episode we're on exactly right now, but listen to the ones proceeding, this one and catch yourself up. And then come back to this moment right now where Dr Tim said it starts with the foundation that you learned earlier. And now here we are. You've learned all this foundation. Now what?

Speaker 2:

So we're gonna go kind of step by step here and add some additional things. We'll go through the general process of how we approach discipline and then I don't know a couple of sessions downstream, we'll get to some very specific tools about how we're gonna do things. So, as with anything, it's always, if you're gonna take a long trip to, say, green Bay, wisconsin, it's a good idea to have a sense of where you're going before you leave, right? So we always start with well, what are just to review, what are the purposes, what is the function of discipline? And the function of discipline is always, always, always, always to train positive, appropriate behaviors. And in my mind, when we're talking about appropriate behaviors, for a kid, what we're training are not the things that make our lives more convenient. We're training the skills, the behaviors that give them a better chance of being successful as adults.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so here's where we're actually going to stop.

Speaker 2:

Okay For today. That's tantalizing.

Speaker 1:

I know, I know we're setting the table here. For what are those positive behaviors, this positive discipline that creates these positive behaviors that will help your child succeed for the rest of their life? Join us in our next podcast to get cracking on those. And if you haven't listened to the other ones, or if you're grogging on some of those, go back double speed and listen to those and get yourself ready for some of the practical tools that are going to help us all improve as parents. Any last words for this for today Goodbye, goodbye and good night. We love you, parent. Well, anything you call.

Motivating Behavior in Parenting
The Importance of Encouragement and Recognition
Effective Parenting Strategies for Positive Reinforcement
The Impact of Punishment on Discipline
Positive Discipline for Successful Children