Home > Behaviour & Discipline > The Effects of Punishment on Children

The Effects of Punishment on Children

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 1 Mar 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Discipline disciplining Children

Punishment is anything that reduces the frequency of unwanted behaviours. In theory, punishment should suppress inappropriate behaviours totally, but this is rarely the actual result. Parents must remember that punishment, particularly corporal punishment, is distinct from discipline. Disciplining children is almost always preferable to simply punishing children as children are still learning and growing and deserve to be taught how to do better and be better.

Corporal Punishment
Corporal punishment is the infliction of physical pain on someone convicted of wrongdoing. Most parents who use corporal punishment do so in the form of smacking or spanking a child. Some parents also slap their children’s arms, hands or legs. Very rarely do parents choose to use corporal punishment in any other form, and today there is only a very thin line between what is accepted as corporal punishment and what is considered child abuse. For example, in the past some children were punished with belts or straps. Today these actions are entirely inappropriate and rightly condemned.

Parents who do engage in corporal punishment believe that they are teaching their children an almost Pavlovian response – that misbehaviour brings pain and should be avoided. Parents who do not use corporal punishment argue that it does nothing to teach self-discipline or responsibility but that it does convey the message that harming or hurting others is acceptable. Several academic studies have also found a link between corporal punishment and childhood aggression and antisocial behaviour.

Punishment versus Discipline
Whether corporal or not, punishment simply teaches children that if they break rules they will suffer negative consequences. Punishment does not necessarily teach children why the rules are in place, why the rules are important or how they can act in accordance of the rules. Punishment also does not teach children to be responsible or to take into account the thoughts, needs or experiences of others. Discipline, on the other hand, always carries a lesson which helps children to understand what appropriate behaviours are and why they have become accepted in our society. Disciplining children is really a means of teaching children how to better themselves.

The Effects of Punishment
Unfortunately, punishment is only effective at deterring inappropriate behaviours in so far as it provokes fear in children. Children come to fear for their possessions (that they may be taken away), privileges (that they may be revoked), preferences (that they may be used against them) and even safety and well being (if they are routinely caused pain or harm in the name of punishment). Children do not necessarily come to understand why their behaviour was wrong, or how their behaviour negatively impacted others. In contrast, the effects of discipline on children are often an increased sense of responsibility, self-confidence and the ability to distinguish appropriate from inappropriate behaviours.

Punishment, or the deliberate infliction of unpleasantness on someone judged to have done wrong, may be very tempting to some parents. In the heat of the moment it is very easy to fall into the trap of making a child feel bad in response to their own bad behaviour. However, punishment does not teach a child anything other than that it is alright to hurt others. Instead, parents should strive to discipline their children in order to help them better themselves and their situations. Properly disciplined children will grow to be happy, healthy and productive members of not just the family, but society as well.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
[Add a Comment]
Punishment is nevera way of teaching. It can disturbteachingprocess.Only motivation is good effort below the age of 9 years.
IQBAL SINGH SIDHU - 1-Mar-19 @ 10:56 AM
Parents always punish their children out of anger , some times from job, spause etc .. All these affect children at the end so sad
RUFTZ - 13-Aug-18 @ 8:21 PM
Thanks for the nice lesson I wish to have more lessons like this from you.
Prosper - 15-Jul-17 @ 7:59 AM
I think negative punish is not good but we all use them may be unintentionally
Juniper - 21-Dec-16 @ 10:57 AM
I didn't realize the difference until I read this, I now understand that it is very important to teach the child a lesson instead of just correcting the behavior but teach them why that behavior is not acceptable. What acceptable behavior is and how their actions effects others. I am going to change my whole approach to teaching the children.
Amy - 14-Oct-15 @ 3:06 AM
l think the effects of punishment should be reviewed.
frankusnero - 18-May-11 @ 11:24 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Mumina
    Re: Erikson's Theory of Psychosocial Development
    No, children develop in their own pace for example, a 1-year-old would develop to hold a pencil and another…
    10 October 2020
  • chumi
    Re: Extra Tutoring: How Do I Pay?
    i am looking to help out students with private tuition as their parents cant afford it i would like to apply for grants or…
    20 July 2020
  • Pat
    Re: The 'Terrible Twos'
    child throws temper tantrum when its cleanup time even when singing the cleanup song, hits my hand and starts pulling the toys back out of the…
    13 March 2020
  • steve
    Re: Child Temper Tantrums
    we work with 5 year olds to 12 year olds.We try to tell the kids what are the basic rules the first day of school.We call them friends from…
    25 October 2019
  • ally c
    Re: B.F. Skinner's Behavioural Theory
    This information has really helped me with my HNC assessment for promoting language, literacy and numeracy. with a theorist…
    16 October 2019
  • pape
    Re: The 'Terrible Twos'
    im a break person at a daycare been that sense 17 yrs
    26 August 2019
  • baby
    Re: Behavioural Disorders in Children
    We have several children at our center that throw tantrums and have behavior issues you have to keep learning ways to deal…
    18 July 2019
  • Dee
    Re: Child Temper Tantrums
    I have 5 children and with each child I learned handle the tantrums differently.
    18 April 2019
  • Pat
    Re: Sibling Rivalry in Children
    I have two kids, 6 and 2, both of them seem to have a very strange attachement to me, they smell my skin and as they do it they…
    3 April 2019
  • Tapiya
    Re: Personality Development in Babies
    So is this all personality development during infancy??in other words i have that hearding on my assignment so should i just…
    9 March 2019