Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Teach Children Rather than Punish Them

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Mar 6, 2013 10:25 PM

Disobidient children, oppositional, defiant, lying little guys and gals are begging for help. It's a very insecure position in life to be small and the boss, not to have fair rules and structure, guidance and a chance to feel like a good person, or at least a person. So, when a naughty or nasty-acting child gets spanked, put in time out, or loses privileges or things which aren't related to what he did wrong, he learns that there are consequences and gets attention. However, he doesn't learn what to do instead, how to handle life and people in a way which will lead to real caring and admiration.

Rather than punish, it would work best to teach. Give the child an opportunity to make up for what she did wrong. Practice better behavior with her, like an instant replay of events with things going right this time. Have her entertain the sibling she tormented. Require a series of chores to repay for the disrespect and time which she cost you. Make her tutor or teach another less fortunate child. Community service, home service, any service at all makes the child a better person, resulting in self-respect. Model appropriate handling of difficult situations.Praise improvement and effort in the right direction, even if you staged it. In the long run, even acting feels natural with repetition and becomes part of the child's new, more adaptive repertory.

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Comments: 1

  • claudzilla5 img 2013-03-08 10:49

    I have been hearing this more and more - time-outs and other unrelated punishments do nothing to teach a child alternatives to the bad behavior he/she has exhibited. More and more with my kids I try, as you suggest, to get them to make amends for what they did, and I make it clear what behavior is expected of them. "At bedtime tonight, I want you to listen quietly so as not to distract anyone else." This change from DON'T to DO has had a significant and immediate positive impact on how my kids and I interact. Life is a lot more fun now!

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