Parenting: Discipline And Punishment
Parenting: Discipline And Punishment
Jayne Major, Ph.D. (Parenting Educator & Child Custody Consultant, Breakthrough Parenting Services, Inc. ) gives expert video advice on: When should I start teaching my child discipline?; What is the most effective way to discipline a child?; What are the most common mistakes parents make when disciplining children? and more...
What is "punishment"?
Punishment is anytime a parent causes pain, either emotionally or physically. That's punishment. Punishment always builds fear, and historically we've felt that children have to be afraid in order to learn and cooperate. They have to be afraid of us. Nothing has changed more than that concept for a modern parent, is children don't need to be punished and they don't need to be afraid. It's better if they're not afraid of their parents. If their parents are seen as people who love them no matter what and that they can solve problems with, that's better.
What is "physical punishment"?
We don't allow domestic violence with men hitting women, women hitting men, but we still allow the domestic violence of an adult hitting a child. A child is not allowed to defend him or herself. They're not allowed to fight back. They're not allowed to yell and scream back. They have to just take it. We have to raise our consciousness that domestic violence is not okay in our families - period, and hitting children is domestic violence by my definition.
What is "verbal punishment" for children?
Verbal punishment is any time that the parent's rage is directed to a child in a way that the parent has not controlled themselves and doesn't have adequate boundaries about their rage, and is blaming, chastising and threatening the child.
What are "time-outs" for children?
Time-outs are one of my favorite subjects, because in the transition from the old authoritarian punishments, spanking, and threats, the parent-educators in the middle of the 20th century and later said you know let's use time-out instead. So if the child is misbehaved, we'll put him in time-out. And the old Dennis the Menace sitting in the corner in the rocking chair with his little teddy bear, facing the corner. But people would put a chair, a child in a chair and say you sit there for five minutes or ten minutes or whatever it was and they'd call that time-out.
What is "discipline"?
Discipline is always going to be teaching. Always, teaching. You're teaching the child how to think, how to act, how to be in the world. You're teaching them. And you're teaching them why to do that. That's always it. So in contrast of punishment, you're not teaching. Punishment is, there's a misconception that if the child's been spanked that they now know better. Well they may know not to do that, but they may not understand.So discipline is always going to be about teaching them. And you teach them a better way of understanding, of how to understand the world. Why is the grass green, and why is the sky blue, and why is this and that, and the other thing? You teach them, and you also teach them boundaries, appropriate boundaries and why those boundaries exist.
When should I start teaching my child discipline?
You start teaching discipline at age 4, 5, 6, 7. Right in there is the normal people-pleasing stage where a child will automatically developmentally want to please you; want to make you happy, so are receptive to discipline. They realized they will get more of what they want if they make my Mommy and Daddy happy with them, obey their discipline. It is still the same motive but now they are learning to make the Mom or Dad happy. You are vacuuming. They want to vacuum. You're shopping. They want to shop. You are cooking. They want to cook. They want to be like you. There is heavy modelling going on in that period. The parents are very involved in catching them being good. You see how important this stage is, "Oh thank you for helping me. I really appreciate your helping me dust. You helped put away all the toys and you cleaned up your room. That's really wonderful." Catch them being good, and they will learn discipline. Now that is setting the stage for the child's future and getting them out of this me, me, me thing.