Bringing a child up, and educating them so that they learn all the right behaviors and important lessons in life, is a very complicated job.
Kids can be very challenging, and it is quite often that they will misbehave, and you will find yourself having to somehow redirect this behavior.
The most common way in which parents deal with bad behavior in kids is punishment.
Whether it’s by spanking the child (which really should not be done, as this is a form of abuse), by taking away privileges, or by making them stay in their room without being able to go out and play, punishments come in all forms and shapes.
But is punishment really the most effective way to educate a child?
If you don’t feel good about punishing your child, then you’re having a very normal reaction.
Punishment is negative, full of bad feelings and bad lessons, and it is a very thin line that might cause you to lose all connection with your child. Plus, there are alternatives to punishment!
If you want to get to know ways in which to help children behave better, without the use of any sort of punishment, then stick around.
We’re going to talk about our top three favorite ways of redirecting bad behavior into good behavior, while completely avoiding punishment techniques!
Why Is Punishment For Children Bad?
Punishing a child when they misbehave has become the most common form of action for parents and other figures of authority, with the punishments ranging from all sorts of different extremes, and forms.
However, recent studies have started to prove that punishment as a form of teaching children, actually does more bad than good.
We’re not saying that if you’ve ever punished your child, you’re a bad parent. Handing out a punishment, such as taking away something, or making them stay somewhere, is a very natural reaction.
Parenting can be very frustrating, and when a child misbehaves, you end up trying to teach a lesson while also feeling angry and overwhelmed. But why not try to do better?
Punishments can erode the parent-child relationship, making kids resent you, and pushing them away from your leadership.
Kids that are punished become angry and defensive, especially because most of the time they are punished for making a mistake, or for acting one way when they are still learning to do otherwise.
It can be very discouraging, humiliating, and if the punishments are physical or extreme (which they shouldn’t ever be), then it can also become scary and painful.
Not only that. If a child is consistently taught how to behave through punishments, they end up lying.
They will only act one way or pretend to act one way, in order to not be caught and to avoid punishment. They will behave out of fear, and not out of belief or understanding.
So basically, punishment teaches children in the wrong way and has them learn wrong lessons at the same time.
All while making them more distant from the parents, and more defensive over learning and progressing as they grow older.
Instead, it is good to use alternative methods of teaching and redirecting misbehavior that doesn’t involve punishing the child.
Three Ways To Help Children Behave Better (Without Punishment)
Here are our top three favorite ways of helping children behave better, without the need for using punishment.
Teaching New Skills
Punishing your child when they misbehave removes them from the situation and gives them a negative consequence, but it doesn’t actually teach them what they did wrong, or how to do better.
For example, if a child is throwing a temper tantrum (all parents have been there), and you punish them, the child isn’t learning how to not have temper tantrums.
If instead, you take a moment and teach the child different skills that can be used to calm down by themselves, in order to reduce temper tantrums and eventually avoid them altogether, then they are actually learning!
Not to mention that the problem will actually be solved because you’re giving your child the tools to have better control over their behavior.
Children highly benefit from being taught how to problem solve, compromise their actions, and manage their emotions. Especially because most bad behaviors come from a lack of these.
Positive discipline, rather than punishment, is as simple as teaching them how to come face to face with situations, and be able to act in a good manner.
Natural And Logical Consequences
Another great way to discipline behavior, without imparting punishments, is to allow your child to experience the natural and logical consequences of their actions (as long as these consequences are safe, and will not harm the child).
For example, if your child is refusing to put on a jacket before leaving the house, and is causing quite a scene, don’t punish them. Don’t try to fight them on it.
Let them go out without a jacket so that they experience the cold. This is a natural consequence of their actions, and it will help them understand why it was necessary to put on the jacket.
They will see that the instructions you give are logical, and serve a purpose that benefits them, and they will not question you on it the next time!
Another example, this time with a logical consequence, would be if your child refuses to eat their dinner. Don’t fight them on it, and don’t punish them.
Simply state that if they don’t eat their food, then they can’t have a pre-bedtime snack. It’s not a punishment as per say, as it’s a very small act. But it will make the child realize that one thing leads to another, and will make them think about it a bit more!
Rewarding Good Behavior
Positive reinforcement is far better than negative consequences and punishment. Children learn a lot more through positive and happy experiences than they do through anger, fear, or frustration.
So instead of handing out a punishment every time your child misbehaves, reward them when they show good behavior.
Appreciate the good things that they do, and eventually, they will want to behave well in order to receive that praise and feel fulfilled.
This also helps emphasize their victories and accomplishments, which helps boost their self-confidence, and motivates them to keep learning and keep making progress!
To reward good behavior, apart from praise and encouragement, you can set up sticker boards or prizes. It is also recommended to have some of the prizes be quality time for some parent-child bonding.
If children see that being good gets them more time and fun with their parents, then they will be all the more eager to cooperate!
There are many different ways in which to help children behave better, by redirecting them without the need to use punishments.
Our top three favorite methods are to teach new skills, show natural and logical consequences, and reward good behavior.
These all give the child tools to do better, as well as the motivation and understanding to do so, instead of filling them with fear and frustration every time they do something bad.
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