A common myth is that using imposed punishments as discipline is necessary to change young people’s behavior. In reality, disciplining by imposing a punishment comes out of the adult’s desire to control. When the desire is to raise responsible citizens, teaching and guidance prevail.
Despite succeeding in stopping irresponsible behavior in some cases, imposed punishments are ineffective with far too many young people as a disciplinary method. Imposed punishments also fail to help children make lasting changes in their behavior.
The problems with using imposed punishments as discipline are that they:
- Are temporary
- Are adult-dependent rather than self-dependent
- Are inconsistently applied
- Are based on avoidance
- Lose their effectiveness over time
- Do nothing to help a young person learn to modify irresponsible behavior
- Foster victimhood thinking
- Promote aggressive behavior
- Often lead to further escalation
- Often trigger very sensitive children to retreat into feelings of low self-esteem and self-punishment
- Deprive the youngster of an opportunity to become more responsible
Remember, the real power, the real influence of parents, is measured best not by what children do when a parent is with them—but rather by what children do when a parent is not.