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Residents Association of Greater Lake Mathews

RAGLM Board > General Discussion > .......on Punishment
3/16/2013 9:33:43 AM
.......on PunishmentPost: Willow

 I 'disciplined' my kids, and punished them. That's the way we thought you kept them from being juvenile delinquents.

By the time they were ages 7 & 4, I had to go back to school as well as work full time, or Iwould never be able to get a job that would pay well enough to feed and house afamily.
Itook early childhood education classes because I wanted to teach, but I also wanted to get some education on what I was doing with my kids.

I learned from Pavlov and the horrible cruelty he perpetrated on hundreds ofpoor dogs, that punishment does not curb any specific behavior. It only inhibitsALL behavior. The individual learns fear of acting at all in anticipation ofthe punishment.

I learned from Carl Rogers (On Becoming Human), A.S. Neil (who ran and wrote"Summerhill), and Abraham Maslow,  that any organism has within its basicdrive, the thrust to be the best that it can be, to grow to fulfill its utmostpotential.   And that, mostly, the controls we impose on our children serve only to diminish theorganism's capacity for its own fulfillment of purpose.

I learned from Piaget that the brain develops in a very specific order, readyto move forward in one area at a time, and that most of what we punish ourchildren for, they do not yet have the capacity to understand in the clear andeasily recognizable way that we so easily see things.  

A child under the age of4, for instance, can NOT draw a corner, a 90 degree angle. I sat with my almost4 year old daughter for hours working to get her to see and draw a 90 degreeangle. She saw a squiggly line as the exact same thing as my corner line.

Achild also does not recognize quantity. That is why so many youngsters willpour a quart of orange juice into an 8 ounce glass & create a huge mess.They can NOT perceive and compare amounts.

I learned from watching my own children who raised their children withoutanger, condemnation, accusation or punishment, but only with rewarding the goodbehaviors with attention, recognition, and approval.

Theplaypen was used only to impose very short separations during the time thechild was indulging in tantrum throwing or other 'bad' behavior. All thathappened for 'bad' behavior was that there was absolutely no attentionreceived. No punishment. And no anger.

Theinstant the little screaming banshee stopped screaming long enough to suck in abreath, the parent jumped from around the corner with a big happy smile,"Oh Good! Are you ready to be sweet again???" Of course the child wasnot, caught the breath, and belted out a new force of ear shattering wails.

But! The very minute the child was ready for a hug, it was lovingly there andthe incident was over. These children learned before the age of two, that'good' behavior was a choice that got them what they wanted. They are young adultsnow and some of the finest, most scholastically advanced, courteous, and giftedpeople on the planet.

I learned from my children and grandchildren that discipline is not a fearimposed external control. Discipline is a conscious choice made internallyabout how one wants to act, who one wants to be.

Punishment does not inhibit any specific behavior. 

Punishment limits and inhibits all behavior in the punished individual. 

Punishment produces an insecurity in the organism punished, and a lack of self-confidence within the individual that he/she is capable of making choices and exerting behavior that benefits him/her. 

Punishment harms healthy development inthe receptor of the punishment.  Positive, loving guidance, gentle corrective instruction, and pristine role-modeling are far more effective ways of bringing about the long term ability for the organism to make beneficial, productive choices.

Discipline is not a fear based inhibition.  Discipline is an internal decision and starts in the play pen, not the state pen.

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