Punishment vs. Discipline
Children cannot possibly benefit from “discipline” in the form of punishment. Simply put, punishment is disrespectful treatment of a child that will result short-term cooperation but further behavior problems long-term. No child should have to endure such negative modification methods intended to humiliate them with a goal of teaching appropriate behavior. Sadly, however, some adults think they are doing what is best for the child. But what can a child possibly learn from hearing a parent say, “If you hit your brother one more time, I'm gonna spank you!” The child interprets that message as “if I hit him, then you're going to hit me.” There is no valuable lesson being taught in such a situation.
Thankfully, organizations such as NAEYC have set forth guidelines for appropriate teaching techniques for parents and educators to utilize at home and in classrooms. By taking the initiative to research alternatives to punishment, one would see the negative impact this has on children. Anger, aggression, damaged self-esteem, fear, hostility, resentment, and deceitfulness are just a few of the ways children respond to the emotional, physical, and verbally abusive means of punishment they may experience in an environment of uninformed adults. Even though it may be unintentional, the results can be devastating.
There are many ways that discipline can be positive and actually help children learn. Effective child guidance approaches will instill in a child a way of controlling their own behavior. Children should have the power to make choices, and then they will learn from the consequences of their actions. They have a right to be respected and need to learn how to handle their emotions. It is our duty as early childhood educators and parents to allow young children an opportunity to gain knowledge and understanding from the experiences we offer them in safe, nurturing environments....
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