Ever catch yourself thinking, “that’s messed up!” Do you ever ask why?
When something is messed up there’s a good chance that something wrong with a feedback mechanism somewhere. I’m looking for a simpler way to say that. I haven’t found it yet.
What does that mean? Consider the example of spoiled teenagers. They live in a bubble of entitlement and self-importance. Why? Because they haven’t received good feedback from their parents. Their parents haven’t held them accountable for their actions. Teachers haven’t held them accountable. Ever since they were young authority figures haven’t provided appropriate consequences for their actions.
To see a clear example of this, watch SuperNanny or Nanny 911. At the beginning of every show the kids are out of control. SuperNanny then provides much needed feedback to the parents: THE PARENTS ARE THE PROBLEM. The parents are the problem because they aren’t consistently holding their kids accountable for actions. That is, giving negative consequences for misbehavior and positive consequences for good behavior.
So, the next time you see something that you think is messed up, give some thought to what feedback mechanism is broke. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can get to the heart of problem using this approach.