A parent contacted me about her 6-year old son. She was extremely frustrated because the youth does not pay attention at school and is distracting in class. She revealed that at home everything is fine.
The boy’s teacher is also frustrated, so she gave him a behavior book, in which the teacher records the child’s behavior for the day. The boy brings that book home each day, and if any negative behavior is noted, he is punished accordingly. The imposed discipline ranges from early bedtime to no toys/cartoons to no computer or video game time. Each day the boy promises to behave, but he never does. The parent asked me what to do because she disliked doling out imposed punishments … >>> READ MORE >>> →
A teacher recently contacted me and explained that the school she worked in was very entrenched in the idea that discipline = punishment. The students buy into this idea in that they seem to depend on punitive reactions from their teachers and parents. She wanted to know how to help the children move from being punishment-minded to being self-disciplined.
Here is how I replied:
Punishment, which is very often confused with discipline, operates on the theory that young people must be hurt to learn—that they must be harmed to instruct.
Can you recall the last time you felt bad and did something good? People do not think positively with negative feelings.
Punishments kill the very thing we are attempting to … >>> READ MORE >>> →
I read an article today that a town in Wisconsin is going to attempt to reduce the number of bullying incidences by imposing fines on the parents of reported bullies. According the article, parents will be fined $114 within 90 days following a written notice about their child’s bullying; the fine will increase to $177 for each repeated instance of bullying within a year of the first violation. The goal is that once the parents are fined, they will discipline their bullying child, which will then stop the bullying.
Of course, bullying is wrong and needs to stop at all levels. However, I doubt this approach will work for three key reasons: 1) It is putting the responsibility not to … >>> READ MORE >>> →
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
… >>> READ MORE >>> →
There have been many news stories lately about parents using shame and humiliation as discipline measures for their children. From forcing their child to stand on a busy street corner holding a sign that details their offenses to posting embarrassing photos and videos of the youth online, these parents believe this sort of public humiliation is a viable way to discipline children.
Humiliation and shame are never good ways to discipline. Not only do they negatively influence a child’s self-esteem, but they are also just new forms of imposed punishments. And as outlined in Parenting Without Stress and Discipline Without Stress, the effect of any imposed punishment is only temporary. Fear and force produce only short-run changes.
Once an … >>> READ MORE >>> →