Enforcement is used to create Respect for the rules of behavior. When there exists a large amount of Respect, there is less need for Enforcement. Conversely, when there is minimal Respect for the rules, more Enforcement is required. The concept of Enforcement applies to both individuals and societies.

When people talk about the Carrot and the Stick, the Stick is Enforcement. Society uses criminal punishment and penalties as a means to create respect for the laws and rules of society. But Enforcement must be appropriate (Just-Right) in order to create Respect. When Enforcement is too little or not enough (Under-Enforcement), it creates Contempt for the rules of behavior. On the other hand when, Enforcement is too much (Over-Enforcement), it creates a Backlash against the rules.

Contempt is a form is disrespect for the rules. A Backlash is also a form of disrespect for the rules. It is for this reason that it is so important to apply an appropriate level of Enforcement. Enforcement by itself does not create Respect. It is only when the level of Enforcement is viewed as fair or equal to the level of violation, that Respect is created.

Enforcement is a higher level response than Communication. The use of force is part of the Physical Fence. When Communication fails, it is time to use Enforcement. The reason that Progressive Responses are so important is that the wrong level of Enforcement will not have the desired result of building Respect. It could build disrespect.

When it comes to dealing with your children, the proper level of Enforcement is critical for family harmony. This video provides an example of what happens in schools when the rules are not appropriately Enforced. It is clear that lack of Enforcement has lead to Contempt for the rules and to general chaos in the classroom.

On the other hand, high levels of Enforcement are also no guarantee that Respect will be created. This mother has a unique method of engaging in Enforcement.

The mother in the video is Enforcing her rules as a consequence of violations by her children. Her Enforcement is combined with clear Communication of her rules.  Whether or not her Enforcement creates Respect is dependent upon the response of her children. Based on the body language and actions of the children, it is likely that they will view their mother’s action as Over-Enforcement which will result in a resentment and a future Backlash. On the other hand, the destruction of their phones removed the ability of her children to engage in certain disrespectful behavior. This is the creation of Respect by the removal of the source of Disrespect.

Both these videos show the importance of understanding how to effectively use Everyday Boundary Setting™ for dealing with not only your children, but for interacting with everyone else too. 

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