How to Teach Your Children Without Using Punishment
Punishment causes pain. Since we learn best when we are
comfortable, why do some parents punish their children
when their children make mistakes? Their children simply
can't learn the lesson while they are being punished.
Discipline teaches children. Children
crave learning. Children want to make us happy. Since we
learn best when we are comfortable, doesn't it make
sense to use discipline?
Take a look at one scenario and then we can examine the
difference between punishment and discipline: Jessica is
six years old. While at the grocery store, she pockets a
bag of m&ms.
Let's examine what happens when mom finds the bag of
candy after they have left the store:
Punishment does not have to be physical. Many parents
punish their children without laying a hand on them. In
this scenario, mom is going to punish Jessica with
She leans in close to Jessica
(intimidating) and demands, "How could you do that? You
are a bad girl. I better never catch you stealing again.
Shame on you!"
What has Jessica learned about stealing? She has learned
that she should never get caught. She has also learned
that she is bad and she should be ashamed of herself.
Her self esteem has dropped because her own mother is
ashamed of her.
How sad that this six year old girl has already learned
that she is not worthy of her mother's love.
Learning to teach our children through discipline is a
goal all parents should set for themselves. It takes no
more time than punishment, but the outcome is a trusting
child who is not afraid to learn.
In this scenario, mom uses discipline. She sits down
next to Jessica (getting to Jessica's level) and says,
"Oh honey, we didn't pay for that. I understand that you
wanted it. But, we didn't pay for this so it doesn't
belong to us."
If you have more time, you can open a discussion about
stealing or about ways to earn money to buy that bag of
candy. So many good discussions could arise from this
Strive For Discipline Not Punishment
Never say your child is bad - no matter how bad the
Offer a resolution - don't demand your child fix it
Show some understanding - don't act like it's the end of
So many of the things we learned from our parents just
don't work. By learning to understand how our child
thinks and practicing discipline rather than punishment,
we can raise happy, self confident children.