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  • Writer's pictureJoyce Ng

Is Punishment The Best Method?

Updated: Oct 4, 2021

Source: Unsplash

Correcting behaviour and actions through punishments. Does that sound familiar to you? I find it very familiar. My mother’s favourite punishment method was using the rotan cane (those sticks with colourful handles) if you know you know. She honestly prefers the hanger though. Mainly because it is easier for her to find around the house and it is easier for her to grip onto it. Ridiculously prevalent in the past, but has been declining over the years. If this method was still used in this day and age, it might be considered as being “too much”. Social norms have changed over time but ever wondered why? Over time, many came to understand the impact of punishment on children. Here are some reasons why punishment may not be the best method.

Affects Relationship Between You And Your Child

Exactly what it means. Punishments impact the relationship. It may correct behaviour, but is it worth it to create the distance between you and your child? If not effectively managed, there will be tension from both sides and impact both yourself and your child. As a joke, many say that their parents apologise to them by giving them food as an apology after a punishment. Is that enough? A single punishment can create a drift and they might end up seeking love from someone else or something else.

May Even Cause Even More Acts Of Deviance

Punishment may give rise to the development of the wrong emotions. Would you rather your child feel that he/she is in the wrong and learn from their mistake. Or would you rather they feel aggrieved and act worse than before the punishment. A simple way to explain this, negative reinforcements may lead to the development of negative feelings and bad thoughts. Moreover, what one may consider deviant may not be considered deviant to another. Constructed by social norms, behaviour is engraved into a child. To you, being quiet in public will be the norm. For a child, it is not. The child needs time to grasp this concept slowly. Teach them slowly and take the time to let them understand the reasoning behind why their behaviour is not accepted. Click here to learn how to raise kids who are not spoiled.

Self-Centred Behaviour May Develop

Punishment shows the child what would be the impact of their actions on themselves. Why do you ask? This is because, when they deviate, they will be concerned about the consequences rather than how it affects others. This affects their social awareness and emotional intelligence. Think of it this way, when someone is worried about how it would impact others, we would be more aware and conscious of our actions. If punishment is what the child is concerned about, the child may become insensitive to the punishment and continue his bad behaviour. Click here to learn tips on coping with sibling rivalry.

How Then To Reinforce Behaviour

Tip 1: Set Rules With Your Child

Set ground rules together with your child. If you are heading outside with your child for a family dinner. Sit down and discuss with your child what can be done and what cannot be done.

Tip 2: Fight Bad Behaviour With Love

Your child may not know how to cope with their feelings well. This may result in them throwing tantrums. Teach your child to accept “no-es”. Let your child understand why you say No. Showing them love instead of punishing them will allow your child to be more comfortable to be more expressive with you. Find out how to raise an expressive child here.

Tip 3: Allow Them To Take Breaks

Equip your child with coping mechanisms to better manage their behaviours. Give them to understand what they are feeling and take in what you have shared.

Tip 4: Apologise

Teach your child the importance of apologising. When in the wrong one needs to learn to accept and acknowledge


I have said plenty in this article. But everyone is entitled to their own opinion. So I want to know. Do you think it’s effective to punish children? Do share your perspective in the comments!

Nurture Infant House (Tampines)

At Nurture Infant House, our passion is to love and care for each infant and to provide a safe and interactive environment for infants to learn and grow in body and in mind independently.

If you are looking for infant care in Tampines or in East, do visit Nurture Infant House.

We have over 30 years of experience in nurturing thousands of infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

If you are looking for a preschool for toddlers and older children in Tampines or in East, do visit Genesis Childcare 1989.

Feel free to book an appointment through WhatsApp.

You can visit us at the following venues:

Nurture Infant House (Tampines) (2 to 18 months Infants) Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-61 Singapore 520433

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Genesis Childcare 1989 (Tampines)

Blk 433 Tampines Street 43 #01-63/65 Singapore 520433

Tel: 96664141


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