Confusion Between Discipline and Punishment

Do you find that your child lies to get out of trouble? Do you punish your child physically? Do you regret your actions and words towards your child when you are angry? If yes, then you are confused about how to raise your child with good manners and behavior.

It’s important to give your child effective consequences when they break the rules, but handing out harsh punishment can backfire. What is the difference?

Punishment focuses on bad behavior, and turns the situation into a big drama: you yell louder every time, and your child continues to misbehave. Punishment damages your child’s motivation to follow the rules.

Discipline is about training and teaching your child in a way that prepares them for the future.

With discipline you focus to do better the next time.

When working with kids, it’s important to raise their self-esteem, by encouraging them to be responsible for every wrongdoing, and own the logical consequences related to their mistakes. This can be successful by teaching them self-control, helping them stop the wrong act and replacing it with the right one.

Punishment leaves your child with many negative emotions that will not only never teach them anything, but will also greatly affect their belief in themselves, their relationships and their lives.

Let’s Take a Look:

  • Your child hit their sibling(s), and you decided to punish them by making them do more chores at home. Logically, this does not teach them how to communicate better next time; it also makes them think it’s painful and hard to do more chores. The result is that in the future they will feel pain, and they won’t like to work or have responsibilities.
  • Punishment through deducting from their allowance. This makes your child feel insecure about money in their future. It might also make them stingy, or avoid new opportunities for growing their wealth.
  • Sometimes, punishment can leave your child in doubt about themself, making them constantly ask: do my parents love me or not? This leaves them feeling lonely and always searching for security and love in unhealthy ways, and makes them very vulnerable to negative peer pressure.

10 steps that can help you in effective discipline:

  1. Spend daily quality time with your child. Let them feel loved and completely accepted, but that misbehavior is not suitable.


  1. Shift your vision about the situations, and what they need to learn to act better next time. This can make great changes in your relationship.


  1. Be a good leader for your child. Inspire them to do their best work with your directions, with understanding and kindness.


  1. Establish clear rules for each problem that occurs repeatedly. Keep it simple, and make your child understand what is exactly expected from them in every situation. Then make sure your child knows the consequences they can expect when they break the rules.


  1. Create a supportive and respectful environment, even when your child misbehaves: the kids who need the most love ask for it in the most unloving ways. So offer comfort. Listen well when they are upset or stressed, or give them a hug. Show them empathy when they’re feeling bad.


  1. Catch your child being good. Do not point out mistakes only.


  1. Encourage every step they do to behave well. The first small steps can turn to a leap if you support and cheer them on for trying to do their best effort.


  1. Use discipline that teaches them life lessons, and skills that can help them regulate their emotions and problem-solving abilities.


  1. Teach them to make good choices, and show them the results of each choice.


  1. Give them the tools they need to control themselves, rather than insist on controlling them yourself.


Have a clear vision about every situation that is a struggle for you with your child, and remember that disciplined kids become forward-thinking adults.


Dr. Manar Hassan is an Emotional Freedom Coach, Parenting Expert, and Founder of Makany Camp. to build up social and friendship skills for kids.

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