Does punishment work as a form of discipline in today’s world…did it ever?
According to a study published by the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, 90% of parents have spanked their children at some point, but 85% of them would rather not have. The study found that most parents operate in a kind of “grey zone” when it comes to physical discipline…not totally for it, nor totally against it. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is not so ambivalent and discourages all forms of corporal punishment.
Everyone agrees that discipline is a critical element in child rearing as parents teach kids to respect rules and limits while taking responsibility for their actions…facing consequences, as appropriate. The AAP reminds parents, however, that discipline does not necessarily mean punishment. As alternatives, parents are encouraged to try positive reinforcement, to enforce “time-outs”, to have kids pay for or work to replace broken or lost items, or to take away privileges. Over time, parents learn which of the disciplinary remedies works best with their children.
Most importantly, however, is the fact that our kids are also Children of God and should be treated that way…with God’s love. When frustration and anger are allowed to become the motivations for disciplinary action, it is more likely that punishment will result. If we establish our relationships with children on a Child of God basis, we will be more likely to set limits and expectations…and hold kids accountable for them…with a loving, nurturing intention that results in an effective approach to discipline, when it’s needed.
Discipline is love in disguise…not a spanking in anger.