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Here is a quote from "Child Punishment: What Every Parent Needs to Know" by Chris Thompson
The full article is below
|Full article - I do not
agree with or support his ideas. This is just here for
reference. S. Hein
If you read this, notice he does not talk about the child's (or the teenager's), needs. He says young people just do thing to get pleasure or avoid pain.
Notice also he suggests a "reward" system as preferable to punishment. So basically he is simply talking about behavior control, through punishment and rewards. He never considers a child might actually need something. He only talks about what they "want" as if what they "wanted" and what they needed have no correlation.
I have more to say about
this - for example how he suggests telling or I would say
commanding or ordering, Suzie to sit down. Then
threatening her. (But he doesn't call it a threat.) Then
he tries to help the parent not feel guilty by telling
the parent they are not the "bad guy". This
also confuses the child because if they complain, the
parent can say "it was your choice." I wrote a
very strong article about this idea. And I used the same
The term child punishment sounds harsh, doesnt it? Sure, we could soften the terminology and call it child consequences, but what were really talking about is not punishment, its discipline. I say this because your goal is to alter the childs behaviour.
Purpose of Child Punishment
The idea of punishing a child is simply a means to an end, in the eyes of the parent. You want proper behaviour. Youre not getting it. So you implement a punishment hoping your child will learn how to avoid the same consequence next time.
Before we dive deeper into the topic of punishment and consequences, lets first come to an understanding about child motivation. In fact, lets come to an understanding about human motivation since what Im going to explain applies to everyone, not just kids.
People are motivated by pain and pleasure. They want to seek out pleasure, and they want to avoid pain. As a parent, you need to think about this carefully. Your child is behaving in a way that they choose willingly. They choose the behavior to get something positive, or to avoid something negative. Before you implement any behavioral change strategy be sure that you have a solid idea about what it is the child wants.
Why? Because if you dont know what the child wants then you wont be able to shape his behavior with as much influence. If your child is acting out to get attention and you give him attention through some punishment, then you are supporting his behavior. Youre not helping the situation.
Understand the Alternatives to Child Punishment
And before you decide on child punishment as your tactic of choice, make sure you consider the alternatives first. The obvious alternative is to implement a reward system for good behavior. I wouldnt necessarily assume that punishment is going to work better with your child.
Rules for Effective Child Punishment
So lets now talk a bit about child punishment and how to go about it properly. I think we can all agree that physical punishment is not acceptable in this day and age. Gone are the days when you bring out the strap.
With children who are at least 3 years old, I have found that communicating your expectations works best. If you expect Suzie to stop jumping on the couch, tell her to sit down. Then, if she refuses, explain that it is her choice to either stop or to accept some form of punishment. The punishment should fit the situation, be immediately acted upon, and non-negotiable. Suzie can accept the punishment or sit down on the couch. Its her call. You take yourself out of the equation as the bad guy. You simply act as the movie director explaining the choices.
A fair punishment might be that she has to go have some quiet time by herself in another room. She may have been jumping for attention, so by moving her to her own room she doesnt get it. But you need to understand her motivation for jumping in the first place, and if you dont understand this important factor you may choose a poor child punishment.
A lousy and ineffective punishment would be, Suzie, you can either sit down and stop jumping, or youll not get any dessert tonight after dinner. That will never work! Suzie is too young to connect the dots when they are that far apart. Jumping is now, and fun. Dessert is later, and she can't taste it yet. Youll just end up with two fights instead of one because Suzie will beg and scream for her dessert while you tell her how she chose to give it up. Dont do that to yourself!
With children who are too young to understand the complexities of rules, its easier to physically intervene with a problem. Pick up 2-year old Tommy off the couch and say to him Couches are for sitting. Then move him to a safer place where he can jump. Put him on the carpet floor and say You can jump here. Always use positive language rather than negative language. Dont jump on the couch is much less effective!
I find that with very young children (2 and under) discipline and punishment should really not enter the parenting equation. Parents should focus on reinforcing positive behavior and intervening during negative behavior. The goal should be to replace negative behavior with something more positive, and to train a child through repetition. Good behavior is learned just like reading, writing, walking, talking and yes even parenting.
If you enjoyed this article youll also enjoy this free audio lesson for parents. I teach parents how to use language effectively to eliminate tantrums, bad behavior, and parenting stress!