Enforcement is used to create Respect for the rules of behavior. The more Respect, the less need for Enforcement. But, when there is less Respect for the rules, more Enforcement is required. The idea applies to both individuals and societies in the world.

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 in order to create Respect. When Enforcement is too little or not enough, it creates Contempt for the rules of behavior. On the other hand when, Enforcement is too much, 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 stronger response than Communication. Using force can be part of the Physical Fence. When Communication fails, it is time to use Enforcement. The reason that using weaker/stronger responses is important is because the wrong level of Enforcement will not have the desired result of building Respect. It could create disrespect.


In this video clip from Riverdale, Josie reacts harshly to what she considers to be breaking the rules by Valerie. As a result of Josie’s level of Enforcement, Valerie responds by quitting the singing group. As a result, she is now missing out on something she likes to do. On the other hand, Melody is intimidated by Josie and she doesn’t respond to Josie berating her. Melody’s Under-Enforcement makes it likely that she will be subject to the same behavior by Josie in the future.

Josie, Valerie, and Melody all engage in their own methods of boundary setting based upon how they are feeling at the moment instead of what they want to happen.

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