How To Teach Your Children Without Using Punishment

Punishment causes pain. We learn best when we are comfortable. So why do some parents punish their children when their children make mistakes?

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 words. 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 one mistake.

Strive For Discipline Not Punishment
  • Avoid accusations

  • Never say your child is bad - no matter how bad the action was

  • Offer a resolution – don’t demand your child fix it

  • Show some understanding – don’t act like it’s the end of the world

So many of the things we learned from our parents just don’t work. You can learn how to make raising your children more enjoyable with a Parenting Class.

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