The issue of discipline is one of the most complicated for many parents. They are faced with the necessity of educating their children while simultaneously creating the best possible conditions for them to develop and grow as independent and happy individuals. Many books and articles have been written discussing whether parents should punish their kids, and it seems that there is no conclusive answer to this question. Some parents believe that punishment, especially authoritative pressure and spanking, are the only effective and reasonable ways of teaching good behavior (Barish, 2015). As far as I am concerned, adults punish their children simply because they do not know what else to do. I think that there are many other, less stressful approaches to teaching that help stimulate children’s emotional, cognitive and social development.
At first glance, it seems that punishment makes sense. The primary goal of punishment is to show children that all their actions have consequences and that they should be responsible for all their decisions (Barish, 2015). Children are too young and immature to understand what is best for them, so punishment is important for teaching children to control their desires and emotions. However, parents who think that teaching children through obedience and physical punishment is effective are deeply mistaken. On the contrary, kids of authoritative parents fail to learn the principles of compromising and negotiating; they have low levels of self-esteem and creativity and may become antagonistic and defiant (Mensah and Kuranchie, 2013). Self-regulation and discipline cannot be taught through humiliation and abuse because children require a more complex and considerate approach to communication and discipline.
I believe that discipline in itself is the key to the harmonious development of every child. However, I strongly oppose any authoritative punishment because it is ineffective, traumatic, and unnecessary. Reputable organizations and scholars have argued that teaching children through natural and logical consequences, time-out, and losing privileges is far more effective (Pediatrics and Child Health, 2004). Parents should take a proactive approach to solving conflicts and try to teach and guide children instead of forcing them to obey. I am sure that support and praise are more effective and beneficial for a child’s development than spanking and punishment. I admit that this approach takes much time and energy, but it eventually pays off by strengthening family relations and establishing a positive atmosphere for communication and growth.
Barish, K., 2015. Should parents punish their children? (How to have a well-behaved child, part 3). Huffington Post, [online]1 June. Available at:
Mensah, M. K. and Kuranchie, A., 2013. Influence of parenting styles on the social development of children. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 2(3), pp.123-129.
Pediatrics and Child Health, 2004. Effective discipline for children. Pediatrics and Child Health, 9(1), pp.37–41.
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