Challenges of child punishment

Child punishment can be a challenge for most every parent. There are many techniques that a successful parent can use when teaching their children the lessons of life. Punishment itself is not a negative item when it comes to parenting. However, there are still some parents who feel bad when they administer punishment, and end up not following up with their promise to discipline their children.

What happens next? As you can imagine, in time the child will no longer respond to threats of punishment and discipline. Why should they when mommy and daddy always give in and let them off the hook?

Your goal from now on is to follow through on your punishment promises to your children as much as you possibly can. If you say that you are going to do something, then make sure that you do not back off, and show them that you are very serious. On the other hand, be sure to avoid making outrageous and wild threats, those that are obvious falsehoods. For example “No friends until you are eighteen!” This is obviously an empty threat that will not be taken seriously.

Work to involve your children in ascertaining an acceptable punishment. A child who’s punishment is only to sit in his room for a couple of hours because he hit is brother, is not learning anything about why he was punished or how to change his behavior for the specific “hitting” incident.

Instead of sending your child off to his room or some other punishment that does not involve teaching him about what he did wrong, get him involved in agreeing to the punishment. A child who is involved in his punishment, even if in a minor way, will learn not to continue with the bad behavior of hitting.

Here is a simple example of how to initiate your child into the punishment phase so as to teach him to learn the lesson permanently. The next time your child does something bad, like hitting his brother or sister, then immediately go to him and say:

“I’ve told you many times that hitting your brother is not allowed and cannot be tolerated. Now son, what do you suggest that I do to get you to learn your lesson of not hitting? I could hit you back, but that would not be good because I have told you that hitting was wrong. I tell you what, go to your room and think about it for a while, and then we can talk about a better way for you to getting your point across to your brother without hitting over the head with your fists. When you are ready to talk, then you will help me consider what a good punishment should be for hitting. I want you to decide whether you want your bicycle taken away, the television, or not playing with your friends for a week. You must learn that hitting will not be tolerated in this house.” An approach like this will help children to see the reasons for your punishment.