What is the best way to punish a child?

A parent scolding a child as a form of punishment.

How to discipline your child

Some sort of punishment is essential for good discipline. Punishment serves as a penalty for intentional wrongdoing. It is a sharp reminder. It impresses upon the child’s mind that there are things he or she must not do. A punishment today may prevent a tragedy tomorrow."

Punishment is not the main thing that keeps a child from being bad, any more than it is the main thing that keeps adults from committing robbery, murder, or other criminal activities.

Punishment is a substitute, emergency method when the regular system of discipline breaks down.

Even then, punishment doesn't do much good unless there is sound character underneath and loving relationship, as all the cases of habitual criminals prove.

There is no system of punishment that is neat or that will work the same in any two families or will function automatically. Here are some suggestion of some forms of punishments a parent can use.

Best form of punishment


The four commonly used forms of punishments by parents are spanking, scolding, depriving the child of privileges or tokens of affection, and requiring a child to make amends for misbehavior.

Many parents wonder which one of these would be best for their child. They do not want to resort to perpetual spanking and scolding. Yet they must do something, but what?

There are no pat rules to follow. Each disciplinary measure must take the parent as well as the child into account.

Whether you spank or scold or use some other method is entirely up to you. However, it is never too late to begin applying new ways, especially if you have found your method unsuccessful.

Spanking

Spanking has some advantages as a punishment, mainly on younger children. A spanking hurts. It is an adequate reminder that misbehavior does not pay." 

It is a quick and emphatic way of proving you mean what you say. It is quickly over and therefore less damaging to the child’s emotions than scolding and nagging.

You may find that for a three-year old boy persistently misbehaving a few pats on the bottom may do wonders than a lot of talk. However, spankings should be administered with self-control and without anger if they are to be of value.

When spanking is over, it and the misdeed should be forgotten. Friendly relations should be reestablishing as quickly as possible.

Severe whipping or frequent spanking are never justified. They only antagonize the child, and thus the purpose of punishment is defeated.

Parents gifted with love and understanding, patience and insight will find it quite unnecessary to spank frequently.

Slapping, like spanking, if used, should be administered with the greatest of self-control. Before you slap your child, you should ask yourself, “What am I after? Do I want to teach him or hurt him?” 

To slap a child across the face indiscriminately simply shows a parent’s impatience.

Slapping children across the face has resulted in broken ear drums and blind eyes. The only safe place and adequate method to slap and spank is to use the bare hand or light stick on child’s bottom.

Scolding and Nagging

Scolding, in the form of a reprimand or a warning, is an often-used form of discipline."

While scolding may not always achieve what parents want, it, nevertheless, does check the child’s waywardness on many occasions.

A child with a strong inner conscience, who toes the line, obeys the rules, assumes responsibility, and is jolted back on the right track by a scolding that is tempered with love.

But a parent that scolds regularly and incessantly becomes a nagger. Nagging or yelling at child constantly merely drives it away, and often into acts of delinquency.

Mistakenly, many parents think that they are very modern and understanding and considerate because they never spank their children. Hence, they just scold them.

However, children have feelings of fear and anger against parent who constantly scold them in the same manner.

They become emotionally upset. It is impossible to build good patterns of behavior on shaky foundations.

Instead of scolding a child for splashing water on the floor when he takes a bath or yelling, “I've told you for the thousand times, don’t do that! You stupid boy!”

Would it not be better to give the child a mop and have the child clean up mess? If he marks the wall, make him wash them clean.

If he drops paper on the floor, make him pick them up. When he forgets something, make him go back for it. In other words, you make him responsible for his negligence and wrongs.

Reports show that when a youngster has had to make something right he almost never repeats that form of behavior.

And the child almost never feels resentment. It is said that this method of punishment is not used more often.

Isolation and gifts

Sending children to bed or isolating them from company when they misbehave is effective for reminding children that there are rules to be followed, that their behavior is socially unacceptable." 

Isolation’s good feature is its educational value.

For example, if seven year old Billy keeps hitting other children, despite your pleas that he stop and play nicely with them, what can mother do? Slap him?

A slap may shock the boy, but will it help?

Would it not be more effective simply to remove him from his playmates, with a reminder that if he learns to play without hitting others he can then join the group?

Such discipline is educational and it often works much better than the more severe methods of disciplining children.

Gifts and compliments go a long way to encourage good behavior, but do not bargain toys against basic human qualities.

Desirable social behavior is an end worthy in itself. It is not something for getting material rewards. Do not bribe or bargain with your child for good conduct.

Whatever punishment you use, be firm. Be plain. Mean business when you speak. Try not to nag. Do not forget your good humor. And remember, children learn best from example-your example.

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