Side Effects of Traditional ..

Side Effects of Traditional child Punishments 

It is really difficult to talk about punishment these days, but it is important to do so. One problem in discussing punishment arises from the strong feelings and values associated with punishment that are based on thousands of years of traditions. Another problem arises from confusing two distinct concepts of punishment: the traditional concept and the more recent concept in behavioral psychology.

Traditionally, punishment is something that someone in authority imposes on someone else as a penalty for a misdeed. It is something that is done to people to make them feel punished enough to pay for their misdeed. We all know that traditional punishments are not always effective in changing behavior. Traditional punishments make children feel punished even when having little or no effect on their behavior. In psychology, punishment is always effective in changing behavior, even when children don't feel punished

Side Effects of Traditional Punishments

Punishment is strong medicine. As with any strong medicine, potentially harmful side effects may occur. Some children are more susceptible than others to side effects.

Some side effects to watch for:

  • 1. Lying, sneaking, deceit, blaming others. Children eventually learn to avoid getting caught.
  • 2. Lack of responsibility. Adults sometimes teach children to be responsible for their behavior by serving the punishment. Being responsible for your behavior means making things right, not serving a punishment.
  • 3. Don't trust adults. When children are not sure they did the right thing, they will normally come to adults for advice, unless they fear they will be punished.
  • 4. See authority figures as adversaries. Punishment tends to make adversaries of adults and children. Children do not readily learn healthy values from adversaries.
  • 5. Lack of empathy, remorse, or guilt. Punishment does not teach empathy, which is necessary for remorse and guilt. Moreover, it tends to relieve guilt.
  • 6. Resentment and anger. People often feel hurt and misunderstood when they have been punished and become resentful and angry.
  • 7. Retaliation and aggression. Our children learn by watching us. When we punish, they sometimes learn to punish others when they feel hurt in some way.
  • 8. Rebellion. Traditional punishments involve power and control. People tend to rebel against power and attempts to control them, especially oppositional children.
  • 9. Emotional problems. When children get angry and misbehave, they sometimes believe that they are being punished for being angry rather than for misbehaving. When they believe that being angry is wrong, they feel that they deserve to be punished. Then their misbehavior does not feel wrong.
  • 10. Poor self-image. Children tend to see themselves through the eyes of others. Knowing that adults think they deserve to be punished can be very damaging.
  • 11. Loss of confidence and motivation. Children who are punished sometimes feel they can't do anything right and don't try.
  • 12. Impulsive behavior.

When adults teach children to behave to avoid punishment, children sometimes believe that the only reason to behave is to avoid punishment. They lose sight of other reasons to behave well, such as the approval of their parents, having friends who like and trust them, being safe and healthy, or getting an education. In situations where they cannot get caught or punished, they have only their impulses to guide them.


                                                                                                                       (Mrs Maqsoom Zahra)


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