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Punishments must be always the last resort and not the first thing we apply to disobedient, defiant or inappropriate behavior. If what we really want is that our children learn to respect the rules and limits established at home or away from it in an effective way, that they understand what is right and what is not, rather than punishing we must be an example to follow In addition to trying to reinforce their appropriate behaviors whenever possible.
However, there are times that it is necessary to teach our children the negative consequences of their actions applying sanctions to their inappropriate behavior. And although I personally bet more on educational consequences, punctual punishments also have their place in our educational work.
The first thing to keep in mind when applying a punishment is that To be educational, it must be balanced, exceptional, consistent, and applicable. If there is something that diminishes the credibility of parents, it is a punishment that is not applied or that is lifted shortly after assigning it for being excessive or too severe.
1. From 2 years: Verbal reprimands. Verbal reprimands are a type of punishment that can be used very from time to time, for example in situations that involve some type of danger for our children or for others. It is a way of sanctioning inappropriate behavior using an energetic and firm tone of voice, without leaving tones or confrontations with our children.
Young children are very sensitive to this technique if used moderately and we are not yelling at them all day about anything. A verbal reprimand for crossing the street without looking or for trying to touch a frying pan on fire is punishment enough for a young child who must learn that such situations are dangerous.
2. From 3 years old: Overcorrection. This is a very effective type of punishment, which uses punitive consequences based on effort. That is, when we use overcorrection, we use natural consequences to break bad habits and to teach appropriate behaviors at the same time. For example, if our 3- or 4-year-old son repeatedly throws food on the floor, we will ask him to pick up everything he has thrown and help us clean the kitchen.
It can be very useful for us to end those undesirable and repetitive behaviors, against which we have tried a lot of things and none of them worked for us.
Repair is a form of overcorrection that consists precisely in restoring the damage caused physical or emotional. For example, a child who deliberately paints the walls of the house or who has broken an object by throwing it on the floor is required to clean the walls that he has soiled or to replace the broken object with his money.
3. From 2 to 10 years: Time out. The reinforcement time is applied by removing the small child from the place where he has had a bad behavior such as fighting with his brother, kicking a playmate, throwing sand in the face of others, insulting, disobeying ...
It is an effective technique against disruptive, aggressive and disobedient behaviors. It is about removing the child from the situation where he has committed a bad action giving him the opportunity to calm down outside the place where everything has happened. Useful in young children up to 10 years old.
The length of time out will vary depending on the age of the child, so we will try to apply no more than one minute per year. The child must not be permanently in a time out.
4. From 3-4 years to adolescence: Sanctions, withdrawal of privileges, reinforcers or stimuli. It is the typical punishment of 'you run out of dessert', 'today without drawings', 'you don't go to the park'. But the withdrawal of toys, consoles, tablets, mobile phones and computers in the case of older children and adolescents also falls into this category of punishment.
It is not the most effective type of punishment because we use it too often and with little consistency. Let us remember that for a punishment to be effective it must be applied immediately to the behavior we wish to eliminate, which must be fair and appropriate to the age of our children. Leaving a 3-year-old child without a park for a week for having fought with his brother would be unfair and inconsistent, on the other hand, removing him from the place where the fight has occurred by temporarily staying without playing will be more effective.
You can read more articles similar to Punishments based on the age of the child, in the category Limits - Discipline on site.