6 reasons why punishment does not work

Psychologist and specialist in education Alfie Kohn urges to see the child’s personality, in need of unconditional love and acceptance, and believes that the rewards and punishments in education don’t work. His book “the education of the heart. Without rules and conditions” was published in the publishing house “Mann, Ivanov and Ferber”.

  • The presumption of innocence, or as to cease to punish children
  • As it is impossible to punish children?
  • Katerina Murashova: Can the child not to punish
  • Which is better: reward or punishment? Neither

Alfie Kohn

Why punishment does not work

Considering all the available evidence, it is very difficult to deny that punishment really doesn’t work. Why not working difficult to determine. Nevertheless, we can make some suggestions.

Punishment breeds aggression

Like other forms of control, it often causes aggression from the person to whom it is applied, and this experience becomes doubly painful because the baby is not able to do anything with it. The lessons of history of the countries and peoples I teach psychology: first chance of the victims becoming executioners.

Punishment shows an example of the use of force

An example that takes the children’s bodily effects — violence, that is, solving problems by force. In fact, all forms of punishment to teach something. Children can learn or not to learn the lesson we wanted to teach them with the help of some of suggestion (“don’t do that!”).

One thing I remember for sure: when the most important people in life, their role models, face a problem they try to solve it by force, making the other person miserable and forced to capitulate. Punishment is not only Angers the child, it “simultaneously provides him an example of the expression of this hostility outward,” says one researcher. In other words, shows: might makes right.

The punishment eventually loses its effectiveness

The older children become, the harder it is to identify the things that will prove to be quite unpleasant. (By the way, is not easier to invent and sufficiently attractive incentives.) At some point, the threats will start to sound unconvincing and children will just dismiss your “sit at home!” or “this week will not get pocket money!”.

This does not mean that the children are stubborn and not catch anything. Doesn’t mean that you need help in developing more insidious ways to make them suffer. It only says that to try to help kids to be good people and punishing bad behavior from the very beginning was a stupid idea.

Think about it: when the kids wonder why they have to play nice or resist certain temptations, parents can always choose how to achieve the desired behavior. They can rely on the respect and trust that is nurtured with unconditional love for their children, and to appeal to their reason, lucidly explaining what feelings will cause other people a particular act. And can just resort to brute force: “If you don’t stop, you will be punished”.

The problem with the second option in that the weakening of your power — and it will happen sooner or later — you will not have anything at all.

As noted by Thomas Gordon, “the inevitable result of consistent use of power to control [your] children in the early years, becomes something that [you] never learn how to influence them”. Thus, the more you will rely on punishment, so “the less real influence you will have in the lives of their children.”

Punishment destroys relationships

When we punish children, it is very difficult to continue to regard us as caring allies that are vital to their healthy development. Instead (in their eyes), we are turning into clods, which are best avoided. Kids gradually begin to realize that their parents, those huge, all-powerful people on whom they fully depend — sometimes make them miserable on purpose.

Those giants who take their hands and shake, feed and kiss when they cry, sometimes begin to behave differently: take things like crumbs, or make them feel unwanted, or kick in the backside (although they say that children should always “solve problems with words”).

“They say they are doing itbecause we have done that, but we’re not sure if you can trust them and feel with them in complete safety. It is foolish to admit that we are angry, or did something bad, because, as we found out, we can send to time out or to speak in a voice in which not a drop of love, or even hit. It is better to stay away from them”.

Punishment distracts children from the important issues

Imagine what the child is saying, you hit your brother, so I have to go to your room and miss a favorite show on TV. Let’s look at him, sitting on his bed. What you think he thinks now? If you think that reflects on their actions and mutters: “Now I understand that hurting people is wrong,” then of course, continue to send their children to the room when they misbehave.

However, if you as any man has ever had to deal with a real child (or, for that matter, who himself was once a child), I think that is just a ridiculous scenario, why bother to assign it or any other punishment? The idea that time-outs acceptable form of discipline because they give kids time to think about it, based on absurdly unrealistic premise.

The punishment makes kids think about what they did and especially why they did it and what had to do instead. Rather, it makes you think about what is still a bad parent and possibly as a revenge (same brother, which happened all the trouble).

It is also likely they will think about the punishment: what it is and how unfair the next time to avoid it. To punish children and threaten that they will do it again if they get you angry is a great way to teach kids better hide their actions. Tell the child: “I never saw you do it,” and he will think: “OK. Next time you will not see”. In addition, punishment encourages lying. (Children who are not punished are less afraid to admit what you’ve done.)

However, controlling parents, faced with the predictable dishonesty that usually accompanies traditional discipline (“I did nothing! It was already broken!”), not questioning the effectiveness of their methods, and punish the child again, this time for lying.

Punishment makes children more self-centered

The word consequences is often used not only as a euphemism for punishment but also as a justification for it: “Children should learn that their actions have consequences”. But for whom? All the punishment give to this question is the same answer for yourself. The child’s attention directed solely on how he personally will suffer if you break the rules or disobedience will have an adult — that is, what consequences will face, if caught.

In other words, when we punish, kids wonder: “What they (adults with power) want me to do, and what are you gonna do if I don’t?” Please note — a mirror image of the question, heard at home or in school, when the child is promised a reward for good behavior: “What they need to accomplish and how will celebrate?” Both issues are completely selfish. And both are radically different from those to which we wish to encourage children, for example: “What kind of person I want to be?”

A pair of researchers who discovered that punishment inhibits moral development of children, rightly justified this finding: punishment “introduces the child to the consequences of his behavior for someone who has committed a misdemeanor, that is to himself.”

The more we rely on punishment, including a timeout, or encouragement, including praise, the less likely that children will think about how their actions affect others.

(However, they can learn to calculate costs and benefits, i.e. to compare the risk of being caught and punished with pleasure that I get from doing what you don’t have to.)

Such a reaction is to analyze the risks, find a way not to get caught, to lie in self-defense — from the point of view of the child is justified. It is even rational. Really has nothing to do with morality. And the reason is the opportunism that any punishment by its nature prevents the development of moral thinking. When defenders of traditional discipline claim that in the real world children must face the consequences of their behavior, it is reasonable to ask them what the “real world” and what it is adults who are able to refuse unethical behaviour, only when I have to pay for it (if caught).

And these are the adults that our children will, hopefully, never will be.

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