• Punishment only reduces inappropriate behaviour as long as the punishment remains in place.For example: If you ground your child for swearing. As soon as the grounding period finishes the swearing will most likely resume.
  • Punishment doesn’t model the desired behaviorPunishment does not offer the child information about more appropriate behaviours that should occur instead.
  • Punishment often models aggression and use/abuse of power.This in turn often decreases a child’s sense of confidence and self-worth.
  • The “message” gets lost in the fear, anxiety, stress and anger.Getting a punishment creates stress, anger and fear. Commonly these strong emotions blot out the “message“ that was intended for the child.
  • The person associates the punishment with the Punisher, not with what they did wrong. This can also create a lack of trust with you their parents. The can build resentment and anger towards the punisher.
  • Punishment doesn’t generalize to other settings. Eg: home to school. It is not consitent!If you give a person a punishment for hitting out at John when at bowling they may never again hit out at John at bowling, but they may hit out at Mary at bowling or hit out at John at school
  • Punishment is only effective as long the threat of punishment exists.How many times have you slowed down near the local highway patrol car radar gun hot spots, only to speed through when the police car is not there?
  • Person loses the ability to control/monitor/evaluate their own behavior.A person who is punished often loses the ability to evaluate their own behavior and begin to look to you for that regulation. A child will soon imitate your actions back to you.
  • Punishment only works if there is a degree of motivation to please the punisher.If a child has a poor relationship with a family member, the punishment will not be as effective. It can also lead to relatiation, rebellion and aggression
  • Punishment can make the punisher feel better or sometimes guitly

A better, more effective form of discipline is positive reinforcement. There are several advantages to use positive reinforcement rather than punishment. This includes the marked increase in interest in the subject matter at hand. For example: when the cane is used to punish incorrect responses, the child lives in fear of being called out in class. When praise or tangible items are used to reward correct responses, the child desires to engage in the lesson as they are recognised in a special way and there is a marked increase in self-esteem.


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