Punishment is an act of inflicting pain or withholding privileges from a person for misdeeds to correct misbehavior, meted out by a higher authority to an individual or a group of people. The degree of severity differs depending on the offense and desired outcome.
It could be a positive punishment where an unpleasant stimulus is applied such as spanking or a negative which involves withdrawal of a pleasant stimulus such as withdrawing play time for an offending child. A punishment is said to work if it deters the offender from repeating the misdeed they were involved in. Let’s look at punishments that work for children.
Purpose Of Punishment
Punishment should be age-appropriate and aimed at achieving behavioral change. You should not focus on inflicting pain on a child as this would have negative effects. Some of the goals a punishment seeks to achieve are;
- Impose social conformity.
- Help a child avoid self-endangerment.
- Protect against anticipated future harms.
- To defend norms and make a child a responsible citizen.
- To help a child maintain law and order.
Ten Punishments That Work
Children will constantly try to push the boundary line and test their limits. Fair, consistent punishment meted out by a person the child is familiar with could help promote future discipline. Below are ten creative ways to punish your child.
When your child messes up, let them clear up. For instance, if a child spills milk on the floor intentionally, have them mop. Let the child know there are consequences for every action they take. However, you should avoid having them do potentially harmful corrections.
For example, if a young child breaks utensils, letting them clear the mess could cause more harm than intended. You could get an alternative punishment for them.
Time-ins are rare but could work well while punishing a child. As opposed to time-outs, in this method, you give your child age-appropriate work to do instead of leaving them idle in a room. For instance, you could ask them to draw and color their favorite pet. This will take away their mind from the misdeed and will give them positive energy.
This punishment works best for older children. It involves temporarily reducing their activities and withdrawing some of their social activities and having them stay indoors. This will make them think about their behavior. Most children hate it and it will likely deter their misdeeds.
In this digital era, withdrawing your child’s device in an event of misbehavior would be an excellent way of deterring them from repeating the unwanted behavior. You could take away their play stations, tablets, or phones, or switch off the television for a certain period. Before withdrawing the privilege, it is advisable to warn them. For instance, you could your child if they continue using the tablet before clearing homework you will take away the device for a day.
Cool Off Time
This works well for children who like throwing tantrums. You can have a specific corner in the house where they sit any time they have a tantrum. Be consistent and avoid bulging into their blackmail, if any.
Allow Natural Consequences
Sometimes you may want to allow your child to face the natural consequences of their behavior. For instance, if you have to force your child to do their school assignments every evening, you could allow them one day to go to school without completing the assignment and face the consequences at school. This will deter them from such disobedience.
Your child needs to learn how to coexist with other people peacefully. When your child offends a friend when playing and is not ready to apologize, force them to do so. It will help them fit into society and learn to respect others.
Role reversal could be fun for a child during playtime when doing the role they enjoy. When they misbehave, you could have them do a role they don’t enjoy, so long as it is age appropriate. For instance, you can have him fold laundry if they don’t like doing it. The next time he wants to misbehave, the thought of the punishment will deter him.
Use Of Timers
You could set a timer for a child who is undisciplined in time management. For instance, you can time them as they do their chores and let them know the consequences of not completing the task within a set time. For this method to work, you should be consistent and implement the punishment you have warned.
Early To Bed
Children like to stay up a little longer enjoying a movie or a game. Making them go to bed early when they misbehave could help them rethink their actions or lack of it and adjust accordingly.
Tips For Effective Punishment
When it comes to punishment, there is no one-fits-all. The effectiveness of any method is dependent on the child, the prevailing conditions, and the person giving the punishment. The tips below could help make a punishment effective;
- Set boundaries and consequences that the child understands beforehand.
- Give an intense, but age-appropriate punishment, meaning, the child has to feel it as a punishment.
- It should be prompt. Avoid punishing a child for a mistake they committed a week ago.
- Be consistent and follow through with the consequences despite the urge to withdraw.
- Ask why and have the child repeat it to you.
- Give room for forgiveness and reconciliation. Punishment should not lead to avoidance behavior.
- Avoid inflicting physical or emotional pain on the child. Punishment should be a corrective or deterrent measure.
- Punishment should not be followed by positive reinforcement. Such rewards or treats should follow positive behavior, otherwise, the child will not learn the consequences of misdeeds.
In conclusion, a punishment should help deter one from repeating a bad behavior or misdeed. Its primary goal is to help the child become better and attain self-discipline.