When to apply punishment so that it is effective for your child. 

by Bruce (7011 views)
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Following up on our previous article where we introduced the difference between punishment and reinforcement, here are some tips on how to apply effective punishment.


A quick recap on what punishment is: Punishment is a means of altering the child’s behaviour that is believed to be undesirable or unacceptable to society’s norm. 



To carry out effective punishment, it should meet the following conditions:     


Punishment should be consistent.

It should be carried out every time an unwanted behaviour occurs. When an unwanted behaviour goes unpunished, the effect can be rewarding for the child thus making it harder for you and your child to change thereafter. 


Punishment should be swift.

It should be carried out immediately, else it will decrease its effectiveness. “You will be caned when your father is home” is a poor punishment method. 


Punishment should be limited in duration and intensity. 

It should be logical and appropriate to stop the behaviour, and the nature of punishment should fit the undesired behaviour.


Punishment should clearly target the behaviour. 

It should never be a personal vendetta against the character. Humiliation, sarcasm, verbal abuse or even physical pain should never be meted out. 


Punishment should be limited to the situation. 

It should never be mixed with past behaviour from other instances. 


Punishment should not send mixed messages.

Never confuse the punished child with double standard, like “You are not allowed to hit the other children, but as your parent I’m allowed to hit you.” 


Negative punishment is usually much more effective. 

An example will be loss of privileges like loss of screen time or outdoor time compared to a spanking. Your child will feel more likely motivated to behave so that he or she don't lose his or her favourite privileges. 


We hope this helps you to understand what kind of punishment may be effective for your child. Please do share this article with your family and friends if you have learned something from it, it will encourage us to write more useful parenting tips. Thank you.