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He can sense the weakness in me...

Hi Mark,

I have finally realised that I'm in a situation of the tail wagging the dog! I need my son to go back to school – and to the school he was originally at, not to a new school.

I shall tell him that he will be going back to school after the holidays. But I am not sure what to say will be an appropriate consequence if he refuses to go back to school. Do I go say there will be negative consequences – no computer, no tv etc? Or do I offer positive consequences – bribery – eg new computer game?

I am worried because I know he can sense the weakness in me like a horse can sense a nervous rider. So I know I have to be firm, calm and confident when I speak to him.

Your thoughts would be appreciated,




Hi S.,

A good combination of both negative and positive reinforcers would be best. Example: The positive reinforcer (the carrot) would be that if he chooses to go to school, he will be allowed to have a friend spend the night on weekends. The negative reinforcer (the stick) would be that if he chooses to refuse to go to school, you will involve authorities (this assumes that school attendance is mandatory in Great Britain).


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