Lesson 74: What Should I Do If i Cannot Scold or Beat My Kids?

Many parents find it difficult in educating their kids. Why is it so? They always complaint that, "Kids nowadays are not the same as the olden days. No beating, no scolding, not even punishment. I really have no idea to teach my kids anymore." I guess it is a common issue which is facing by school teachers, isn't it?

From the psychological perspective, punishment is to apply something unpleasant to the person in order to reduce the likelihood of certain behaviors. For example, a child have to stand because he did not complete his homework. However, children will not learn and may even feel hurt by over punishing, as it is a kind of humiliation (refer to Lesson 50: Punishment Should Not be Humiliation). I guess this is a common worry among most of the parents. Psychological trauma may happen because of beating, scolding and punishing. Besides, there are some parents who are afraid that their children may become rebellious after punishment.

However, could we ignore if our children make a mistake? How about mild punishment such as time-out? Shouldn't it be fine if it is a mild punishment?

Yes, we have the responsibility to teach our children if they make a mistake. Hebrew 12:6 in the Bible said that, "because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Thus, discipline is a must. However, punishment is not necessary. If we understand the purpose behind, we will not have so much doubts. Usually, the purpose of punishment is to correct the mistakes, isn't it? It is also to teach them the correct behaviors, isn't it?

It does not matter which kind of punishment you use in the past or now. It is time for you to think.

Does your child know what is right and what is wrong after punishment? Does your child correct his/ her mistakes? Does your child know what should be done in the future? Does your child show the correct behaviors?

If your answer is "NO", then the punishment that you used was ineffective.

So, what is the effective method?

The core of education, is to teach our children to differentiate between right and wrong, and between good and bad. As a parent or teacher, have we manage to achieve the purpose when our children make a mistake?

There are two things which we should explain properly in order to allow our children to understand what are the dos and don'ts matter.

Firstly, is your feelings towards your child's behavior. [1]

Please bear in mind that the subject is your child's behavior, not your child. This actions will make them understand the behaviors which are inappropriate and annoying.

For instance, say this when your child is making annoying noise, "Hey, the loud noises make mummy feels uncomfortable." In contrary, the wrong way will be, "You are so annoying!"

Secondly, the negative impacts caused by your child's behaviors. [2]

You can say, "The loud noises distract mummy's work." or, "Mummy has to answer a phone call now. If you are making noises, mummy can't hear what the other person says."

The same method can be applied in classroom management. When the students are loud and noisy, try to say this, "Everyone, if you make noise, you can't hear teacher, so you will not be able to know how to solve these questions."

However, the wrong way will be, "If you make noise, then you have to copy the page for 200 times!" If you say in this way, the students will not be able to understand why can't they make noise.

Jews have been doing very well in this aspect. Jews parents usually prompt their children to think before they tell them the consequences of certain behaviors. Let's say, a child put his bicycle in the corridor in a way that it blocks the others. Jews parents will ask, "Can we put the bicycle in this way? Why can't we put in this way? What will happen if somebody happen to pass by?" The child understand the consequences of his behavior as he is answering each question.

Second, we must teach the children what is the right way to behave.

Most of the time, children tend to repeat their mistakes even after punishment because the punishment was wrong. If you were a child, you accidentally push your friend during game time, what should you do? Pull your friend up and apologize? Imagine, if you pull your friend up, apologize, but your teacher and parents said, "You bad boy! Here is your punishment!" Then they cane your palm. If this were to happen to you, would you think in this way? "Next time, I should run away immediately as soon as I can! I don't want to be punished!"

Hurting someone unintentionally, spoiling something, bad attitude, regardless of what wrong doing it is, most of the time children did not do it intentionally and they wished to make up for their mistakes. However, blind punishment causes them to step back, avoid taking up the responsibility, and even repeat their mistakes. We as the adults, should reconsider our perspective towards punishment. Is it a must to have punishment after some mistakes were made? What is more important than giving punishment?

People need to be taught about the things they need to do

Punishment, is a "band-aid" method which does not solve the problem completely. We raise and teach our children with all our heart, because we want them to develop healthy body, mind and spirit, and therefore they will be a responsible adult later on. Hence, teach the things the children need to do rather than using punishment blindly would be the thing that we should do.

1. Adele Faber & Elaine Mazli "How to Talk so Kids will Listen, How to Listen so Kids will Talk"
2. Chuan Sheng Zhu "The Miracle of Asking ad Discussion Education"

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