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Does Punishment Work on Children?

Learn if punishment works on children from Dr. Kimberly Williams in this Howcast video.


Punishment actually does work to shape different behaviors in children. What you want to use punishment for is to guide your child towards a more positive, acceptable means of behavior. I like to think of punishment and discipline and consequences as something that goes hand-in-hand. Parents often ask me, "What type of punishment should I use for this specific situation?" I always remind parents that punishment needs to be something that's realistic. And it needs to be a situation or a consequence that really fits the negative behavior. For instance, if a child breaks something in the home, a punishment or consequence may be to take time away from your child's computer time and fix the particular thing that they broke, so that there's actually a connection between the negative behavior and something positive.

Punishment should never be punitive. It should be something that's used as a teaching situation. I often want to remind parents too that punishment, discipline and consequences aren't the only ways to shape behavior. But before you even get to a consequence, you may want to try praise and encouragement when your child is doing something positive.

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