What makes humans different than all other species is the fact that we have a thinking, decision‐making, problem‐solving part of our brain located right at the front of our heads. It can sift through our stored life experiences (memories) and help us make the best decision possible based on what we know. Like all other animal species, we also have a reactive, non‐thinking part of our brain that we need for survival
in life and death situations.
The brain systems involved with punishment are primitive, purely reactive, and non‐thinking. Using primitive strategies to change a student’s behavior is primitive, in and of itself. Relating to a challenging child on this kind of primitive level will only breed a mirrored, primitive response from him. It will ensure a cycle of non‐thinking, reactive behavior is perpetuated between the youth and the adult.
Punishing children is quite different from disciplining students. Discipline uses positive ways of guiding children to develop self‐control and confidence. Positive discipline relies on the adult engaging the problem‐solving part of his brain and making decisions based on helping students understand their own behavior better and respect themselves and others. Effective discipline has everything to do with the adult controlling his counter‐aggressive feelings in the moment and making decisions that help a child develop self‐control and personal accountability in the long‐term. Wise adults utilize the brain’s ability to think about conflict and make conscious decisions not to respond to students’ challenging behavior in conflict‐fueling ways.
Conflict to Coping: Understanding the LSCI Conflict Cycle training helps anyone working with challenging children and youth: 1) understand and recognize the dynamics of conflict and escalating power struggles between young people and adults and 2) helps them develop effective strategies to control counter-aggression and de-escalate conflicts with kids. The skills discussed in this training provide adults with specific strategies they can use to avoid getting caught in Conflict Cycles and employing primitive responses during moments of stress.
Dr. White-McMahon is a certified Senior Trainer for the Life Space Crisis Institute (LSCI). For more information or to arrange a Conflict Cycle training for your staff, please contact Meredith@DrMWhiteMcMahon.com or visit www.lsci.org