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.

In this scene from The 100, there are two uses of Enforcement. The first is when Bellany physically punishes Murphy for what Murphy did in the past. Kane (a Beholder) sees Bellany’s use of Enforcement as Violation of the rules of behavior. At this point, Kane is unaware of what Murphy has done in the past. Therefore, in his view, Bellany is engaging in Over-Enforcement which creates a Backlash.

The second use of Enforcement comes when Bellany is shocked into submission to force him to stop the Violation. Kane follows up this use of force with clear Communication of the rules of behavior to all present. Kane’s goal is to create Respect for the rules of behavior. Whether or not Respect is created depends upon how appropriate the Beholder’s view his level of Enforcement.

This situation provides an example of the many times that personal boundary setting and societal boundary setting are intertwined.

In this scene from Stranger Things, Steve is Enforcing a violation (secretive photo taking) by Jonathon. On the other hand, Jonathon’s personal boundary is violated by Steve forcibly taking his possessions from him. When Jonathon doesn’t Enforce his boundary, Steve becomes more punitive. Steve now escalates his level of Enforcement/punishment by breaking Jonathon’s camera.

In this situation, it appears that Jonathon’s use of Under-Enforcement created Contempt which lead to an increased level of violation of his personal boundary.

Both these videos show that those who understand how to effectively use Everyday Boundary Setting™ are able to make it work for them. Whereas, those who don’t, are at the mercy of those who do. 

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