The Role of Objectivity in Punishment for Children

When children do something wrong or exhibit a bad behavior, they have to be punished. However, punishment does not necessarily have to be physical. Most parents think of punishment as being unhealthy for children, and therefore rule out the possibility of teaching their children a lesson by using this method.

Punishment is a natural outcome of a wrong deed. We all are punished at some point in order to learn a lesson and recognize other people’s rights. Similarly, children are punished in the form of low-test scores when they do not listen to the advice of their parents to study.

Children have to be taught at an early stage that if they are not just in their dealings with other people, they will be punished. Similarly, if they fail to recognize their responsibility, they would be accountable for their actions and would have to face the consequences. Although these teachings are difficult to assimilate at a young age, if parents try to demonstrate the after effects of bad behavior, children will eventually see the point.

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Children should be allowed to relate cause and effect. If they are able to recognize and accept their mistakes, they will also learn to correct them with time. It requires patience to see these results. Sometimes parents lose temper and all their previous efforts of letting the children learn on their own go to waste.

An important aspect of inflicting punishment on your child is to recognize the role of objectivity. This does not necessarily mean that you need to be neutral in your values or your emotions. Being objective means being fair in all your dealings including a realization of when to lecture your child, when to inflict physical punishment and when to leave your child alone.

Again being objective requires patience as well as an understanding of what actually happened. Do not jump to conclusions when you see your child has done something wrong. Maybe there is an explanation; maybe someone else was there who compelled your child to take an action. A child’s wrongdoing may have something to do with revenge or taking his anger out. So, before deciding to punish your child, try to find out the root cause of the problem.

Your own behavior sometimes also plays a role in guiding the child to do something bad. Instead of scolding the child, try to change your own behavior or even apologize to your child for being too harsh. Another kind of punishment is to remain silent throughout the whole situation until the child recognizes that it was his own fault.

Sometimes it becomes too difficult to contain your anger, especially if your child has continuously been bothering you or someone else. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that everything will be all right, and if possible leave the room where all that activity has taken place. Later, when you have gained control over your emotions, send for the child and tell him how irresponsible her behavior was. When there are visitors in your house, do not scold your child right in front of other people. It will not only have a negative effect on your child’s thought process, but also be a cause of extreme embarrassment on your child’s part.

Adopting an objective approach to punishment is not always easy and it requires practice. Don’t rule out the possibility of being objective even if your child is too hot-headed or extremely difficult to control. At the same time, don’t ignore or neglect repeated instances of bad behavior. It will only encourage your child to do whatever he likes to do without any danger of punishment or scolding from parents.