Punishing children who misbehave is not an easy or welcome task for parents. Kids Health encourages parents to maintain a consistent discipline plan in order to promote good behavior in their children. The type of punishment and consequences will vary according to the age of the child, says Kids Health, but there are some key advantages that apply to children of any age.
Consistency is the key to disciplining children of any age, reports Kids Health. When children learn that their parents are serious about eliminating certain behaviors, they are more likely to pay attention and learn how they are expected to behave. Parents are encouraged to follow through with consequences in order to teach children that certain behaviors will always have a specific consequence. The advantage of consistency and follow through is that children learn how they are expected to behave as well as how they are not allowed to behave and usually adjust their behavior in order to avoid punishment.
Figure Out Feelings
Often bad behavior occurs because children are experiencing feelings they do not know how to express, reports Healthy Children. Parents can use punishment to learn what their child is feeling so more appropriate behavior can be taught. Timeouts are a common punishment that require a physical and mental break from the situation causing bad behavior. Healthy Children recommends that parents speak with and watch their child in order to learn what situations cause bad behavior and use timeouts to provide a valuable follow-up time. Parents can then validate a child's feelings by empathizing with why the child is feeling a certain way. This turns punishment into an opportunity to learn about what causes bad behavior, as well as develop solutions to eliminate the bad behavior in the future.
Mistakes Teach Lessons
Discipline, including punishment, tells children that parents are in charge and sets boundaries that teach kids valuable life skills, reports Healthy Children. Often children feel guilt when they do something bad and an appropriate punishment can ease that guilt and teach children how to avoid a similar situation in the future. Having toys taken away, for example, teaches children to take care of their belongings. Healthy Children also recommends that parents only punish a specific bad behavior in order to maximize the benefits of children learning from their mistakes. Punishing outside the scope of a specific behavior does not ease guilt and can make a child feel worse. Learning from mistakes takes parental guidance and appropriate punishments so the child can learn and grow.