Yes, that's what I said, punishment does not work. Discipline works, if done correctly, but punishment-not so much. The word discipline actually means “to teach.” Teaching your kids works great. Random punishments that have nothing to do with what you actually want your child to learn are useless.
Let’s take the example from yesterday’s tip. You’ve reminded your daughter 12 times to hang up her clean clothes and she still hasn’t done it. You’ve lost anything resembling patience, so you yell “I’m taking your phone for 2 days because you can’t do something when I ask you to do it!” Sound familiar? Of course, it does.
Almost every parent I know uses their child’s phone or electronics to punish her when she “misbehaves.” Does taking her phone away teach her how to remember to put her clothes away? NO, it does not! Those two things are not connected at all. I know, lots of you are thinking, well if she wasn't on her phone so much, she’d be taking care of her stuff. Would she? Can you guarantee that? I don't think so.
Our goal as parents is to raise responsible, resilient, kind, loving, hard-working, productive, happy adults, right? If that’s your goal, you have to teach those skills. If she’s forgetting things when you ask, help her create ways to remember-teach her ways to help her meet your expectations. No punishment required.
Let’s say a consequence is actually in order-maybe your son hit or kicked his sibling. Obviously not acceptable, but make sure the consequence fits the crime. Taking away his electronics or sending him to bed early doesn’t teach him how to be kind.
So, the consequence has to be a way for him to show kindness to his brother, right? Maybe putting away his brother’s laundry for the week, doing one of his brother’s chores for the week, allowing his brother to go first every time for the next few days? Do you get the idea? No punishment required.
Things should only be taken away, when the “thing” was used inappropriately. If you’re teen used their phone to send a nasty text message (or worse), taking the phone away IS the natural consequence. If your teen didn't turn her homework in on time, taking her phone away doesn't teach her how to honor a deadline.
Discipline means “to teach.” Teaching our kids always works.