The question shouldn’t be “What do I do instead?”  The question should be “What new information do I need so I know what to do instead?  A deeper answer to this question is in the 3 videos below.  Enjoy!

Fear-based strategies usually center around external rewards and punishments.  The end result is usually shame, guilt and embarrassment. Some examples of behavior and classroom management systems center around stickers, tickets, tokens, points and clips.  Fear-based strategies also intensify anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and self-worth, and a dislike for themselves, teachers and school.

LOVE-based strategies are ones that see past the fun, fast and easy of its fear-based counterparts.  LOVE-based strategies look at self-reflection, answering the question, “Who is this child?’, relationships, the 4 aspects of the environment, differentiation of instruction, natural and logical consequences and then, finally, support plans. When LOVE-based strategies are put into a child’s toolbox and they either don’t work (don’t work yet) or are uninteresting to the child, they can be taken out without any worry of shame, guilt or embarrassment. We tried them, they didn’t work, and we can brainstorm new strategies and the child’s self-worth is still intact.  I have numerous videos on my Instagram, Facebook and YouTube channel that are centered around different LOVE-based strategies. Go check them out!

Dive deeper!  Many children would not speak up and instead internalize their thoughts and feelings around these systems.  It is an incredibly brave act to speak up to let others know you are being hurt.  Many times children “hold it together” at school and later “fall apart”, explode or “lose it” at home.  These systems are responsible for many children hating school.  It is important to share power and control in behavior/classroom management strategies and these systems hoard both.  The first step to changing these systems is to give the children a voice.  Ask them their true thoughts. Let them know that you are looking for a change and want everyone to feel good and be safe. Lastly, it is essential to dig through the topical dirt to find that children DON’T love these strategies at all.  They are either telling us what we want to hear or we have been successful at training compliant children. Compliance should NEVER be our goal!

This is always such a tricky question. I often see teachers doing what they are told or just don’t know what they don’t know. It is so hard to be LOUD when you are certain these systems don’t help and only hurt academic progress and self-esteem. We have to gather research, construct new language and be extra LOUD because we will always put a child’s emotional wellness first!  ALWAYS! Below is a link to one of my videos that digs deeper! Go give it a watch!


Below are 2 links with over 70 articles and blogs written by the real voices that are in the trenches of these fear-based systems. They speak LOUDly to the broken self-esteem, emotional unsafety and dysregulation and hurt these systems are causing teachers, parents and especially children. Print out a couple to have on hand when you get the, ever popular, research question.

  • Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn
  • The Schools Our Children Deserve by Alfie Kohn
  • Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn
  • (ALL the books by Alfie Kohn ☺)
  • Drive by Daniel Pink
  • Anything and Everything by Brene Brown

Autistic children that “participated” in ABA that are now adults have a social media platform where they can use their voices.  And their voices are LOUD and clear of their distaste for ABA (and new ABA).  Many have PTSD as a result of the hours per day and years of compliance training. Their voices are overwhelmingly against ABA and the information on this page will help you see, think and act differently about ABA!