Punishment can be an extremely touchy and highly debated topic. The key to punishment is understanding what discipline is. Discipline is the training that makes people willing to obey rules and control themselves. In order to teach a child discipline, you are first required to educate your child what is deemed acceptable. Teaching a child self-control, how to follow directions and understanding authority is the first step. The second step following discipline is punishment. Punishment is the penalty for breaking the rules. Some means of punishment are more harsh than others. While some parents believe in corporal punishment, other more passive parents view that form of punishment as abuse. Passive parents believe that you should never physically punish children because it does more harm than good, whereas the parents that adhere to corporal punishment believe "If you spare the rod, you spoil the child." Different forms of punishment work for different children. Methods such as warnings, verbal punishment, physical punishment and consequences for actions can be utilized to get the desired results.
Being a parent can sometimes be a difficult job. There is no way to know if what you are doing is the right thing. Even if you had a "Parenting for Dummies" book lying around there is no way to prove it would make a difference. Every child is different and will need to be disciplined in a different manner. Some children may be more eager to please, or submissive, and a verbal warning or time-out may stop them from their wrongful actions. Other children may be more energetic, or rebellious, and a warning might not work with that select child; therefore another form of discipline may be necessary. One common way to discipline a child is to give a warning. Warnings serve as a "time-out" and informs the child what they are doing is not acceptable and if they do not stop further actions will be taken. By taking time to talk to the child specifically about what behaviors they are displaying and why it is wrong should be the first step. Also, what actions will be taken as the result if they do not comply helps prevent further actions from taking place. By speaking in a firm, authoritative tone, and understanding your child's personality will help communicate the seriousness of the situation. This informs the child the seriousness of their actions. When giving a warning, the intention is to discourage the child from continuing the action or wrong doing and they comprehend the reasoning behind the warnings.
Verbal punishment is another form of punishment, although it is often misused. Verbal punishment is given when warnings are repeatedly given and the person punishing gets frustrated with the lack of results with warnings. Verbally punishing a child often causes emotional pain and/or embarrassment, especially if given in a group setting. Yelling for the reason that you're frustrated can make the situation worse because you're showing the child it's acceptable to yell when angry. However, if in an emergency situation you yelled to prevent the child from getting hurt it can be viewed as suitable for the situation; for example, if a child was going to put an object in an electrical outlet and you were startled and yelled to frighten the child until you were able to rush over and deter the child away from danger. Depending on the situation, the choice of words and how they are expressed can make all the difference. Verbal punishment is commonly viewed as child abuse. How verbal punishment is communicated is just as important as what is being communicated. As a child you're often told "Think before you speak," when verbally punishing a child that phrase tends to go out the window and you speak what's on your mind in the heat of the moment. The wrong choice of words may come into play. The child may rebel more from the feeling of embarrassment.
One common form of punishment many of us grew up is physical punishment. Nowadays, physical punishment is often frowned upon in society and sometimes considered child abuse. Many have commonly heard the phrase "Spare the rod, spoil the child", meaning if one does not discipline a child, they will never learn obedience. But per say if the parent is angry from giving multiple warnings, the punishment may be more severe than intended. There is a very thin line between punishment and abuse. Just because you physically punish your child does not mean you hate them though, as it is often mistook. This tactic is usually used to scare the child into submission and discourage negative behaviors in the future. Physical punishment is not always an effective use of punishment for all children; it can be argued that this form of punishment teaches children to physically solve disagreements.
The last form of punishment is by far one of the most important; facing consequences for actions. Consequences for actions are commonly used as a result for the child's wrong doing. This action involves taking an object or privilege away from the child. This form of punishment is socially acceptable where the child loses something they really like for a period of time deemed acceptable by the parent. This is an effective tool in talking to the child about the cause/effect relationship of actions, meaning "You brought home bad grades, which is resulting in you losing your game system until your grades come up." This is often the preferred form of punishment for older children and teens. This also sets them up for late adolescent/early adult decisions where the end result can lead to serving jail time for bad decisions.
Child punishment can be a difficult topic to discuss among others. There are many different ways to discipline a child, what is the right way to some parents is the wrong way to others. Do what works best for you and your child. Every childs reaction will vary to different methods of punishment. The children we are raising are our future and will need to be functioning adults in our society.