“Look, I know that I can be stern and heavy-handed sometimes, but that’s what my kid needs. For this kid, it works.”
“How do you know it works?” I asked.
“Because, when my kid really steps out of line and I really let them have it, they start doing better.”
“I see.” I replied. “And have you tried rewarding your child for doing things well? Have you tried to bless your kid for doing the right things?”
“Yep!” came the answer. “That really backfires. When my kid is doing really well, and I try to give them good feedback or some kind of reward, they start slacking off… they don’t do as well the next time.”
What do you think of this parent’s answers? They sound sort of logical. After all, if your kid does better when you punish them, and they do worse after you praise them, then it seems like punishment works and praise doesn’t.
But there’s a very important theory in statistics that proves that this parent’s way of viewing the situation is very wrong.