I often have parents come in at their wits end because their children don’t respond to any form of punishment. I’m not surprised because it’s well known that punishment isn’t effective in changing behaviors in the long run. A child who is punished may change immediately out of fear, but the long term effects of PUNISHMENT do NOT result in behavioral changes. However, there is an alternative:DISCIPLINE.
So what is the difference between Punishment and Discipline?
The purpose of punishment is to hurt the child. This can include spanking or other form of physical treatment such as pinching, pulling hair etc. or less physical punishments such as taking away things a child likes, restrictions, time-outs. If the purpose is to make the child unhappy or uncomfortable, it qualifies as punishment.
The purpose of Discipline is to TEACH the child correct behaviors. It is not meant to hurt, but to teach. The goal of discipline is to help the child learn new ways of acting. Discipline is based on natural and logical consequences. Check back tomorrow for more on logical and logical consequences – an effective way to change and improve your children’s behaviors (works with adults too!).