Sunday, December 27, 2009

Punishment for children – Is it judicious or ridiculous?

Many parents come for help reporting that…‘Mine is a problem child’, ‘can’t manage the tantrums’, ‘disobedient’, ‘too demanding’, ‘disrespectful’ ‘can’t control him/her’, and a lot of other problems.
So what is the role of punishment in bringing up a child?

Punishment should be used sparingly, and as a last resort on children. It should not become a way of taking revenge, insulting or humiliating the child. It should be administered with the aim of helping the child develop an internal control over self for the bad habits.

Technically it can be defined as presenting an aversive stimulus contingent on the target behaviour for the purpose of decreasing the target behaviour.

The first strategy should always involve “positive strategies” such as

• Rewarding for good behaviour (just praising verbally is usually more than sufficient, more elaborate schemes may include gifts, picnic/party or whatever suits your scene).

• Not meeting the demands of the 'bad behaviour' in the initiation only (so as to avoid setting up of an unhealthy pattern; an unrewarding act is likely to get extinguished on its own).

• Withdrawing some privileges (e.g. I will not play with you today) as you did this bad behaviour.

Explain to the child what wrong he/she has done, and that it is undesirable, and that you are reacting to it, and that you would not do it if the ‘bad behaviour’ was not there. You should be sure of what you are doing, and be consistent with it.

Excessive use of punishment only decreases its efficacy, and in the long run causes strained relations between parent and child, and if you are very unlucky, the child learns to deceive you by lying and hiding mistakes for the fear of punishment. Beating up the child is usually undesirable; it is mostly the result of parent anger rather than purpose of helping the child… and the child can also learn from Your aggressive behaviour. Punishment may be called the lowest form of education.

Spend time with your child, it will help avoid development of problem behaviours, and you will know what causes bad behaviour when it is there.

7 comments:

  1. You can learn many things from children.How much patience you have,for instance.

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  2. O sure, I coulnt agree with u more. Well said, its a profound statement.
    And after all..... 'the child is the father of man'

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  3. More you interact with the child and having more fun will decrease the problem behaviour. We need to be careful, children are great observer, far better than adults, so parents need to be good model.

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  4. It is definitely like that. But what are your views on punishment per se?

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  5. Explaining the child as to what WRONG he/she has done, being CONSISTENT about the undesired behaviour is by itself a journey towards being “HEALTHY”... BUT the job is not complete rather confuses the child (majority of them). The next step MUST be explaining to THEM very clearly what is acceptable and desirable.
    Regarding PUNISHMENT my say is KEEP IT AS A LAST RESORT , bcz it definitely works at times

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  6. It sure works sometimes but should NOT be overdone, but then the next question comes.. HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?
    And Yes, the children must be explained cleary what is expected of them.
    Do u think it is the 'JOURNEY to be healthy'(as you used the phrase) that is more important, as perfect health is rather elusive... just like 'The Pursuit of happiness'.

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