Alternatives to Punishment

There are ways to punish a child if they misbehave. The child should not get spanked all the time for every little reason. Therefore, whether using positive parenting skills or finding alternatives for punishments, the child should get punishment and it should be used effectively. It is impossible to punish a child and then the child still misbehaves. This should be a clue to the parents to find other ways of punishing the child. To this end, without physical or emotional harm to the child is the best respect you should give the child. One way of going about an alternative is the parent allowing the child to have choices to make. Allowing them to make choices is teaching them to think and know what is right from wrong (1)***. For example if the child wants something different to eat for breakfast, the parent should not command the child to eat what they already have on their plate, but allow them to eat another morning meal. The parents may not like it if they were not given choices of what to eat; they would be highly upset. Throwing commands at the child is not going to help because you are throwing words at them and making their situation worse. This is not a war. Another way to not have corporal punishment or emotional results is to take the child out of the conflict that is unfolding around them. The child may question the parent to why he or she was removed, but the parent should be able to explain to their child what the conflict is and how it a bad influence (1)***. Instead of punishing the child, this one-on-one talk should help the child realize that there are other ways to handle a problem as the child grows older into adults.

When the parent feels like they need to use the belt or some other manageable object to physical punish the child, the child is at risk of having aggressive behavior. There is no reason to raise more bad people in this world than we have now. Beating the child too much can lead to child abuse. If the parent does not call it abusing their child, later the child will assume that they were abused if they are not physical punished correctly. Abusing the child is just wrong. Physical punishment can also lead to the child to fear the parents and be scared of them for the wrong reason. Children should fear their parents and not be scared of them. There is a difference. Along the same lines of physical punishment could work though there is an unhealthy side of this punishment, parents should avoid spanking the child (2, 9)***. However, positive child guidance can be used by the parents for the child instead of physical punishment. Too far often a child will have a parent who is neglectful, does not care about their child, and even will find the parents not wanting to be an actual parent to them; therefore, the parent should not be too strict and be like a military sergeant, but to use their authoritative skills (3, 8)***. A parent of this nature will be in the middle of the parenting style spectrum and knows what is best for the child.

There are some strategies that will help develop the child with respectful moral and an understanding of being a better person. These are alternatives that will be use to avoid physical punishment. It is good to punish the child, but in a more positive way and it is certainly effective if the child is taught at the age of understanding in order to avoid conflict and being spanked. For instance, parents can set clear and understandable rules. Rules will have loopholes, but it is better to make sure the child knows how to behave in the house and outside the house. Engaging in the child’s daily activities (asking them if you can join) if very helpful and allowing the child to know you care for them to stay out of trouble. Making sure they are learning character education such as being a trustworthy person and being responsible for their personal items and in every day life. If a situation appears to be leading in the wrong direction, the parent should grab their child out of the situation before it leads to violence or gets out of control. Most importantly, teaching the children how their actions and behavior will affect their peers at school, an elderly person, and in most cases even their siblings (4, 7)***.

To help parents understand how to disciple their children, there are a few principles that they must know. This is not only forming a healthy relationship, but to learning how to build a foundation on the principles of discipline (6)***. Though there are debates on how you should get spanked the child and vice versa, there are other ways to solve problems with the child’s behavior with going down the road of physical punishment. There are six principles that parents should consider using when they are going to punish or discipline their children for improper conduct whether be it at home or in the general public. As the first principle, not all negative consequences will help change the child’s behavior, but it will not have an immediate effect. Sometimes the parents will need to use reinforcement when they are going to punish their child. A good way is to punish them and take their toy away, but only give them a positive consequence, but yet teach them a lesson. All children have a favorite toy and if you take it away, the parent can allow them to have less amount of time to play with the toy than they usual do.

The second principle comes in play hen a parent reinforces punishment for the child positively, most likely as they grow older into adults they will learn and know that they should behave in the right way because it is what they are expected to do. In this case, they will not seem to be forced to behave in a certain way because they have been taught how to behave with moral values. At the stage of the third principle, a child has to suffer negative consequences; most likely they will get out of control since they did not do anything to cause them to get punished. For example, if they know that something happened and it is not their fault, they will continue to misbehave in order to get their way. They end up being aggressive and mean.

The fourth and fifth principle deals with positive reinforcement and positive systems. Time out for children will help control behavior in children because it is a positive system that will lead to the child to know not to behave in the way they did that caused them to get put into time out. This method and other positive systems should be used often effectively to teach the child positive values and know how to control their behavior. Lastly, as the sixth principle, the adult should use their firm voice, but still be kind to the child. Often it will take time to get the child to obey and understand what you are telling them. If a parent does not like the though efforts to allow the child to comply with them, then the last result is give them a negative punishment that will teach them a lesson to just go ahead take the punishment and it get over with for their own sake (5)***.


  3. Laura, King A. The Science of Psychology.***


  • This is very informative. Especially for young parents. Children's welfare is one of my advocacies, and your post piqued my interest,:-). I must agree that corporal punishment is a thing of the past. Nevertheless, parents must remain to be parents to their children in terms of respect. That must be a real challenge for parents,:-).

  • I am glad to hear that this post caught your attention :). It is always good to share with others different ways to punishing children and how to guide them to be a successful person throughout their lives. Thanks for the comment I hope you continue visiting the blog.