Retribution Versus Restoration

Why are we, as a society, so damn obsessed with punishment and retribution?

I work with children, and while I have worked in the youth justice system, I’m focusing here on everyday minor infractions.

We carry this false belief that a person has to learn what they did was wrong, so they must be punished in a manner commensurate with their misdeeds.

There’s a significant flaw in our logic here.

“Kids with challenging behaviours lack skill, not will.”—Dr. Stuart Ablon 

“When we view behaviours as intentional, we tend to use disciplinary strategies aimed at a surface target rather than the underlying cause of the behaviour.”—Dr. Mona Delahooke

“Punishment teaches children how to avoid punishment; it does not teach children anything about the nature of appropriate relationships.”—Josette Luvmour 

“Too often, caregivers, teachers, providers, and parents assume that a child is acting deliberately, when in fact a behaviour is actually a stress response.”—Dr. Mona Delahooke

“Our traditional discipline policies and protocols have been reactive and reflexive, focusing primarily on consequences.” — Dr. Lori Desautels

Read my article in Neurodiversified.


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Published by Jillian ADHD 2e MB

Jillian has Child and Youth Work diploma as well as a BA in Psychology. Jillian worked on the front lines of Social Services agencies from 2003 - 2012. Jillian has taken numerous continuing education courses and has attended various workshops focused on supporting neurodiverse children, in particular children with ADHD.

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