I am going to start this with an episode. This is from the time when I was in Grade 5. I had this teacher , I will not name her , she held my ear slapped me on my face. She did so because I had not done my homework.
Now, with respect to this anecdote let me talk about a topic considered as a taboo by most parents and teachers –punishment.
Punishment by our parents and teachers like any other form of learning forms an integral and significant part of growing up. Now some may ask, why? It is because a child realises what he has done is wrong? Does it really mean that the child will not repeat the punished actions? Does it help elders vent out their anger by punishing the child? Is punishment a way of imposing dominance over the child? Does punishing my child make me a bad parent?
Well! It all depends on how you decide to punish.
A person giving punishment is not essentially ‘strict’ or ‘mean’ or even ‘heartless’. If the punishment is corporal, it is definitely likely to have a negative impact on the child. When I speak of punishment here, I urge to use it constructively and creatively to obtain the desired result on your child.
How can this be done?
There are some very important aspects about punishment that I have learned in my first year in this profession, and would like to share it with parents.
Ignorance is not always a bliss
Firstly, If you be Miss ‘kind-hearted’ and over look your child’s mistake they are going to take you for a ride. If you are a teacher and you overlook a wrong doing there are 10 in a line to follow suit. Dont let anything slip away. Ignoring an extremely wrong act can do more harm than good in elder kids.
Among the younger ones though, it is suggested to ignore certain acts to not give extra attention and importance to it. In any case, expressing your displeasure towards a particular act is always recommended. Children do not comprehend right and wrong, they have to be made to realize.
Degree of punishment
Secondly, degree of punishment, here let’s go back to the anecdote I shared in the beginning about my school days. My teacher slapped me, pulled my ear and shouted me in front of the class and for what? not doing my homework! Isn’t that extreme? Not only did I get the message of me being at fault for not doing my homework loud and clear but also I instantly developed a fear of that lady. The effects – I always got a stomach ache on the day that teacher had a lecture in my class. I hate her eternally, I felt so embarrassed that I spoke to no one in class. I suggest, Do not and simply do not humiliate the child. The outcome of this would be uncalled for fear. Children are fragile at this age. Punish him so that he realises what he did should not have been done. Not to make him feel worthless, embarrassed and scared.
Emotional and physical punishments can be used that would benefit the child. For example, mother may refuse to speak to the child for a while, play time could be cut short, added chores make better punishments. I do not like the idea of helping mom in her work, assisting someone, or cleaning to be a punishment, they are moral duties and should not be seen as a punishment.
Be clear of your expectations before you punish
Next, for you to give punishment, your expectation should be crystal clear. This is right behaviour. This is not. Warn your child before you go for a punishment. The child might himself not realise the said behaviour is wrong. Also if possible, explain to them why what they have done is wrong. Create an understanding. That their wrong behaviour is going to have consequences.
Be creative with your punishments.
If you give the same punishment all the time your child is going to get used to it. ” What will she do? The same old no desert.I have back up ” will be the attitude of the child.
Emotional and physical punishments can be used that would benefit the child. For example, mother may refuse to speak to the child for a while, play time could be cut short, added chores make better punishments. How about writing an essay about the action that led to the punishment.
I do not like the idea of helping mom in her work, assisting someone, or cleaning to be a punishment, they are moral duties and should not be seen as a punishment
Spot correction, another important aspect of punishment. You cannot reprimand a child for something that was done a long time ago. The guilt the child might have at the time the deed was done would be washed off. At this point your punishment is futile as it will only create resentment.
Watch your tone and words
punishment does not necessarily have to be an outcome of anger and resentment. Let your child know that a punishment is an inevitable consequence of a conventional undesirable action. Punishment should not be perceived as shame or disgraceful.
So to sum it up
Give punishments. But,
Mind the degree of your punishment.
Do not criticise the child, only the act.
State your expectations. Watch your tone and words
Now, keep all this in mind and see the magic of punishment as it not only has the power to get a change in behaviour of the person who has been punished but also those who witnessed the punishment.
I am not done yet. We have been the bad cop giving punishments. But it works hand in hand with rewards. Done give out punishments and be a miser when it comes to appreciating your child. Tell him what good he has done. Reward him. Let him know that you are not only going to acknowledge bad but good behaviour too.
Vidoes from Brightside and parenting180