Unfortunately, punishments are popular in our society, and it seems they are accepted as a “way of life”. The problem I have with this view, is that punishments motivate people to behave in a particular way. People avoid doing certain things in order to avoid a punishment. Here is why we don’t believe in punishments:
You’re probably thinking “what’s the problem with that?”.
Well, wouldn’t we all be better off if people learnt to “do the right thing, because it’s the right thing to do”, instead of “doing the right thing to avoid a punishment”?
This is why I don’t believe punishments are appropriate for children.
So in that case, we should just ignore inappropriate behaviour when kids display it? Absolutely not! What I’m saying is, punishments are not the answer. There are so many alternatives, for example, logical consequences.
Now, you’re probably thinking what’s the difference between a punishment and a logical consequence (my husband said he got completely lost with what I was saying at this point, so hopefully the next couple of senteces will help clear all this up).
A “punishment” is something someone does to someone else (in the hope that) it will stop the behaviour from happening again (e.g. imagine your kid smashes another kids toy, so you punish your child by grounding them for a week). A logical consequence, on the other hand, is a consequence that is directly related to the behaviour (using the example of the smashed toy, the consequence may be that your child has to repair the toy, or work to purchase a replacement toy for the other kid).
When you “punish” your child, you’re teaching them that you control their behaviour and will enforce a “punishment” to get them to do what you want. Not only that, you are impacting your relationship with your child in a negative way, and you are teaching them that when they don’t like someone elses behaviour, the appropriate thing to do is “punish” that person. Most importantly, you’re taking away the opportunity for them to develop the understanding that their behaviour has consequences based on the choices they make.
A few common examples of “whats the logical consequence for…”
- Drawing on the walls? Cleaning it up!
- Throwing your dinner on the floor? Picking it up and putting it in the bin!
- Breaking a toy or item of value? Using your pocket money to pay for it!
So how do you even get your kids to understand the concept of logical consequences? We’ve got a heap of strategies to help you get started once our new website launches. But I’ve got to warn you – it will be hard work.
I hope we’re up for the challenge, and I hope you are too!
Until then, we would really like to know:
- Do you believe in punishments in your house?
- What about logical consequences?
- What works for you?
Some parents don’t like logical consequences because they are time consuming. Does this effect your choice of using consequences versus punishment with your child(ren)???
Look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Dominique has a background in psychology and education and uses her knowledge to share simple and effective behaviour strategies with parents on her website Oh Beehave! created by her and her husband Sam. Dominique and Sam are recently married, so while they were working together to build their website, they decided it would be a fun side project to blog about their experience towards parenthood. Unfortunately, their journey has been more challenging than they (or anyone else) could have anticipated. Follow along to see how their journey pans out on the blog at Oh Beehave!