ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Should Punishment Be Used

Updated on December 16, 2011

Does this mean that 'spare the rod and spoil the child' is untrue?

Some psychologists would say 'yes'. If properly devised programmes of positive reinforcement are followed, it should, theoretically, never be necessary to use punishment in training a child. In practice, of course, only the most fortunate of parents will get by without it. So how, if it is inevitable, should punishment be used?

First, in accordance with basic conditioning principles, there should be good discrimination, so that it is clear exactly what behavior is being punished. Without this, correct learning cannot take place. Second, punishment should follow as soon after the unwanted behavior as possible. With children under about three, this means immediately: punishment delivered after a delay at this age will be at best ineffective and may bewilder the child and make him less amenable to good conditioning later-in other words, rebellious.

Third, there should always be room for the child to maneuver.

The child should have the opportunity of making a new response that can be rewarded positively. Fourth, punishment should be unambiguous. It should not be mixed, especially, with any expression of triumph or the child will feel that he, not the response, is being punished. Nor should punishment be mixed with positive feelings. In this case the child will receive both punishment and positive reinforcement and he will be confused. Such confusion can lead to the devaluation of either the punishment, or the positive response, or both.

If punishment seems essential, then remember St. Ignatius's advice: 'hate the sin but not the sinner'. Zimbardo and Ruch updated this maxim to read 'punish the response, not the person'. On no account should punishment be linked to general remarks about the child, such as 'You are stupid, wicked, naughty', or 'I suppose I can't expect anything else from you'.

Punishment can become contagious-those who experience it are more likely to go on and punish others. The process is sometimes termed identification with the aggressor. Punishment is also often context or situation specific in its effect. Punishing a child for bad behavior in the home may have no effect on that child's behavior outside the home. In society at large, or in the family, reliance upon punishment can lead to (or derive from) an authoritarian view that intensive surveillance is vital. The underlying assumption is that a punished person is incapable of managing things for him or herself.

Downgrading the whole person can have few, if any, beneficial results. And this is a danger with another form of discipline often found in ' liberal' middle-class families. Here the negative reinforcement is not a smack or a cross word but the withdrawal of affection. At first sight this may appear to be a more humane method of instilling good behavior. However, there is a real danger that the child will come to devalue himself. Feeling worthless is the first step on the road to general rebelliousness.

And withdrawal of affection can also produce a general inability to give self-reinforcement. As with more overt forms of punishment the danger here is that the practice is self-justifying.

A naughty child is punished, the punishment is ineffective and so the child is punished yet again-and so on.

Continue reading: Conditioning Self-Control

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)