Published on July 22nd, 2014 | by Richard Black0
Corporal Punishment, Mary and Rupert, and an Introduction to Effecting a Change in Behavior
Every once in a while I have the opportunity to educate as well as entertain, springing my vast store of wisdom upon an unsuspecting (and frankly undeserving) public like a panther pounces on an abandoned child. It doesn’t happen often but I’m occasionally solicited for advice by one of my three readers. It usually goes something like this:
My Dearest Richard,
You seem like a remarkably attractive and disease free fellow. In addition to writing you should also consider a career in acting and/or modeling and teaching a nationally required course in lovemaking.
In addition to your many talents however the one I most admire is your ability to construct a concise, engaging and coherent piece of prose. You have such a way with words that really speaks to me, largely because you use small words, and I could certainly use some advice.
I’m having the hardest time with my two illegitimate daughters ages four and eight.
I’ll bet you have loads of advice on the subject of discipline and I’d love to solicit your thoughts on the subject.
I think of you often and fondly,
Well S. Labeouf I’m glad you asked.
Generally speaking, very very generally speaking, there are two ways to effect a change in behavior, reward and punishment, or the carrot and the stick as they have been categorized throughout history and in countless S&M films.
The Carrot Method
The Carrot Method, or using rewards to reinforce a given behavior, sounds fairly simple in theory.In order to illustrate the basics of the technique I’d like to introduce you to Mary and her son Rupert.
Mary wants to teach her toddler Rupert to crap in the toilet. After cajoling and pleading with Rupert for years Mary’s son, who is now in middle school, finally craps in the toilet at the age of 17 and receives a bag of prunes for his trouble.
As you, dear reader, can probably imagine this technique requires quite a bit of patience and time, something that most parents have in short supply. In addition many handpicked experts agree that reinforcing positive behavior is pretty worthless largely because children are, for the most part, little shits and opportunities to do so are few and far between.
There also appears to be strong evidence linking children raised in this fashion with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement, massive weight gain and chronic masturbation in cruisy airport bathrooms.
The Stick Method
This leaves us with “the stick”, or punishment for unwanted behavior, a technique that has proven to be remarkably effective in changing behavior throughout history. Let’s use Mary and Rupert again as an example.
Mary wants her toddler Rupert to crap in the toilet. Rupert, an impetuous four year old, has decided that moving ones bowels is a shameful and degrading act and has taken to relieving himself in the apartment’s coat closet. After four days of constant supervision Rupert takes an opportunity during one of his mother’s “appointments” and drops a deuce in the aforementioned coat closet. 24 hours later Mary finds the turd and promptly loses her shit.
After confronting Rupert with the evidence, Mary describes his infraction in detail and then applies an appropriate punishment, a lengthy time -out, a firm but gentle slap to the buttock, thumbscrews or even water boarding for a particularly recalcitrant subject.
In addition to providing Mary with an immediate outlet for her anger Rupert receives feedback regarding which actions his mother finds undesirable. It should only take a few rounds of split fingernails before he finds himself hurling towards the nearest commode whenever he feels the slightest bit of pressure in his bowels.
As a technique however “The Stick” is not without it’s drawbacks as generations of English school boys who sport an erection at the thought of a good, firm smack on the bottom can attest. Remember we’re trying to alter behavior, not cause a neurosis. Restraint and consistency are key.
That just about sums it up. Next week I’ll be reviewing the book on tape 50 Shades of Gray as read by Gilbert Godfried.
As always thanks for reading.