Parenting and Punishment

    In my household, we use negative punishment to try to encourage my daughter to behave. While I generally work very hard to reward good behavior (such as with sticker charts and treats), there are still many instances where I have to remove something she likes following behavior that is unacceptable. My boyfriend and I knew that we did not want to discipline with positive punishment, such as spanking my daughter, because we know research suggests that it does not effectively teach kids the better, correct behavior in a situation, and that it is not in line with our parenting philosophy. It is interesting though because we really really struggle with Madison's behavior, and have had many people swear that once they spanked their kids the bad behavior completely stopped. So even while it may create a fear response, it does appear to work in some situations.  Our belief is that no behavior is worthy of us subjecting another to physical pain.  However, I am the last person that would judge another parents choices because I feel that we are all trying our best to get our kids to be grown, happy, and healthy, all while staying happy and healthy ourselves (a feat sometimes!).  
      We use both time outs and introduce response costs. Time-outs, while listed as negative punishments, are in my opinion also a verson of both negative and positive punishments. It involves the removal of something fun (playing with toys, coloring, being with friends) but also introduces a new event that the individual dislikes, in order to elicit better future responses. Time-outs have been much more effective in our case that response costs.  


  1. I can relate to the sticker chart because I do this at my job! It works very well and the children seem to be very upset when we have to take a sticker away. When children get out of hand, we sit them at a table by themselves for 5 minutes and then give them a chance to explain why they had to sit out and why it hurt the other child or why their behavior was unacceptable.

  2. Jess, great post. Now-a-days there are so many different approaches to parenting that it is hard to think you are doing the right thing by your kids. I have 2 sons and while the oldest is extremely well behaved, my youngest is a wild man just like his dad. So my wife and I have had to use 2 different types of punishment and reinforcement for both of them.


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