There might be instances when parents are left grappling about what to do to correct some of their children’s untoward deeds. One cautions that the extremes of both sides are not too healthy, that is, not doing anything or being too severe when dealing with the child. There are a lot of approaches in navigating this concern, but some parents and experts recommend using positive punishment with children.
When we wear the term punishment, we think of harm and aversion一though this is not what it is all about.
Positive and Negative Punishment Examples
In the context of rearing children and helping them grow in their social and emotional skills, punishments refer to processes by which a chosen consequence immediately follows behavior. This is to help decrease the same behavior being repeated. In the same way that reinforcement works, stimuli are either added or removed when enforcing positive and negative punishment.
By definition, positive punishment works when a negative consequence is immediately given or done after a child shows untoward behavior. The goal is for the behavior to occur less and less in the future.
On the other hand, negative punishment occurs when a stimulus is removed after the child shows undesirable actions. Again, the goal is for the behavior to happen less.
Examples of Positive Punishment
A lot of examples of positive punishment can be seen at school. For one, a child who takes away the pencil of his classmate can be reprimanded by the teacher. The goal is for the child not to repeat the action.
Another is for a student who writes unnecessary things on the blackboard. What a teacher can do is to have the student do the additional task of writing one’s name over and over. The critical thing to remember is that while this approach may be effective, other things should be in the picture.
For one, it is essential to guide one’s child into learning alternative behaviors that they must exhibit, preferably ones akin to a given situation. Also, it is important to note that what is aversive for one child might not be aversive for another. Writing one’s name over and over, for one, might not cause the imprint for which the punishment was intended.
Other common examples of positive punishment include adding more chores to a child who refuses to place her socks on the suitable hamper, therefore being asked to collect other dirty clothing pieces from different places of one’s household.
Examples of Negative Punishment
Negative punishment, as aforesaid, is done when a pleasant stimulus is removed so that untoward behavior will eventually stop. A classic example is not allowing one’s child to go out after talking back. Another example includes removing a child’s WiFi access because they failed to do their homework on time.
TV or screen time can also be taken away because a child ignores their parents’ requests. However, parents are advised to be cautious in using both punishments and reinforcements. The balance between both positive and negative is key.
Tips When Handing Out Punishment
Now that ample examples have been detailed to show the difference between positive and negative punishment, it is also essential to know some tips to help you as a parent. Keep in mind that researchers state that positive consequences work better than negatives when improving behavior.
One way to make sure that the punishment would do its purpose of helping and not alienating children is to use consequences with meaning. For example, giving the task of writing an apology letter to a child who has wronged an elder might be a better punishment, followed by an explanation about the task.
Talks with children regarding problem-solving are another excellent way to process the punishment. This might come in discussing choices instead of the wrong behavior committed. Additionally, one should take extra care that they shouldn’t discourage or demean a child whatever measures are taken.
The ultimate goal is not just to “discipline,” but rather to teach your child and help them grow into being a good, well-rounded person. This also means that parents must find ways to let their children take accountability, regardless of how they react to the punishment. They must know that the punishment is being done because of an important, underlying cause and goal.
We understand how difficult it can be to decide the right way to punish a child, especially with the stigma surrounding the word itself. That’s why we hope that the information we’ve provided will help parents choose necessary and appropriate punishment given the situation. Otherwise, more untoward behaviors such as aggression and being antisocial might arise.
Studies suggest that the more a child is spanked, the more likely the child will defy the parent. This might even contribute to long-term mental health and cognitive issues. Proper parenting requires finding the balance, ensuring apt processing, and teaching the children the consequences of their actions.