Harsh Discipline which involves hitting, spanking or verbal abuse should not be used under any circumstances. Children who are spanked, hit, or slapped are more prone to fighting with other children. They are more likely to be bullies and more likely to use aggression to solve disputes with others. These practices teach children to handle upsetting or difficult situations with aggression.
Physical punishment doesn’t work also because it makes the child hate himself and others. Physical punishment makes the child think that there must be something awfully wrong with her to be treated so badly. If children think they are “bad,” then they will act “bad.” A vicious cycle is formed. The child who has been treated harshly has no reason to be good. Or she may be good just to keep from being punished and not learn to be good because she thinks it is the right thing to do. Children who have been spanked feel that they have paid for their misbehavior and are free to misbehave again. In other words, spanking frees the child from feelings of remorse which are needed to prevent future misbehavior.Parents who use physical punishment are setting an example of using violence to settle problems or solve conflicts, Children imitate their parents’ behavior. When parents use physical punishment, children are more likely to use violent acts to settle their conflicts with others.
What harsh discipline practices parents should not use?
• Physical punishment – slapping, spanking, throwing things at children
•Verbal punishment – shaming, ridiculing, using cruel words, saying “I don’t love you.”
Parents who spank their children rather than using other discipline methods usually say: “Nothing else works.”, “You’ve got to let kids know who is boss.”, “They asked for it”, “I was spanked and I turned out OK.”
Reasons for spanking which parents seldom give are:
- They are mad at their husband or wife and take it out on the child.
- They are angry and don’t stop to think of better ways to discipline.
- They don’t know how to discipline more effectively.
- It relieves their feelings of frustration.
- It is easier, quicker, and requires less thinking than other discipline methods.
What effective discipline practices should parents use?
• Withholding rewards – “You can’t watch TV if you don’t do your homework.”
• Penalties – “You broke the window so you will have to pay for it with money from your allowance.”
Effective discipline helps children learn to control their behavior so that they act according to their ideas of what is right and wrong, not because they fear punishment. For example, they are honest because they think it is wrong to be dishonest, not because they are afraid of getting caught.
Using Consequences as a Form of Discipline
Letting children experience the consequences of their decisions is a “hassle-free” way to discipline young people. Children learn from experiences, just like adults. We call it learning the “hard way.” The child learns that every act has a consequence for which he is responsible. Parents can declare that the consequence of not coming to the dinner table in time to eat is that the child does not eat his dinner that evening. Hunger is a natural consequence of not eating. If the child complains, mother can say, “I’m sorry you feel hungry now. It’s too bad, but you’ll have to wait for breakfast.” The child who experiences the unpleasant consequences of his behavior will be less likely to act that way again.
The differences between consequences and punishment are:
|calm tone of voice||angry tone of voice|
|friendly but firm attitude||hostile attitude|
|willing to accept the child’s decision||unwilling to give a choice|