Punishments: What They Really Teach Children

Positive parenting is the belief that a child can be disciplined in a positive encouraging way without punishments.  Punishments, like time-out, spanking,  only show children unnatural consequences to their behavior, it does not tell them why it is wrong, nor does it allow them to figure it out themselves.  Punishments only stop the immediate behavior, they do not teach what behavior you want.  Below are some common punishments and what they teach children.

  • If they hit another child, do not hit them as punishment.  This only teaches them that it is ok if you are bigger than they are.
  • If they hurt another child, do not force them to hug/kiss, say “I am sorry”, it isn’t genuine and it only teaches them that it is ok to lie.
  • If they are bothering you, do not send them to someone else.  They learn that you can’t handle them.
  • Do not compare them to another child, they will then compare themselves to others.
  • Don’t tell them to “be nice,” or “be gentle”, it is too vague. They may think they are being nice.
  • If two children are fighting over a toy, don’t take it away.  They will never learn how to negotiate that way.
  • Do not use food for anything other than nourishing their bodies.  This puts value to food and could cause eating disorders.
  • Do not use any physical punishment, it only shows them that violence is ok.

So what are you suppose to do?  Come back next week for tips for each of these!


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