How to punish your child.
Psychologists advise that parents should give bad
consequences for bad actions and good consequences for good actions.
Bad consequences are grounding. This means all entertainment of the
child is stopped. He goes to school, comes home and remains at home. He
is not allowed to talk to his friends, play games, look at TV, phone or
computer etc. This requires sacrifice on parts of parents also. They
have to see that the child follows this. In some cases they may also
have to not see the TV. The parent may ground the child for a few
minutes or many months. For small mistake, few minutes and for big
mistake many months. The child must NOT be beaten or scolded or shouted
at. Many people do the opposite. They ignore the child for a long time
and when they get the result from school, beat the child so mercilessly
and badly that the child wants to run away from home. Some parents
think that criticising the child again and again will change him. They
do not notice that criticising the child for past several years did not
improve him at all. This is the definition of insanity or madness given
by Mr. Einstein "Repeating the same action again and again and
expecting a different result". At least use both criticism and praise
and see which works better. If all your ideas fail, ask a good
counsellor or psychologist, and follow his advice. If still the child
does not improve, use a different psychologist.
If you do not want to pay any psychologist, here are a few
suggestions. Children want to make their parents happy. Use this to
make them do what you want. Use a mixture of praise and criticism.
Experiment with these and change their ratios to see what works best.
Give a reward may be once a year or more frequently. Some student
should not get a reward for getting even 99% score and some child may
deserve a reward for getting a B grade. You know your child. Use your
judgement. If above methods fail, ground the child after giving prior
warnings. If even this fails, then better spend some money and find a
I remember a very good parent. The parent had risen high by hard work.
His children had many good habits. They scored high marks in school,
were in school tennis teams and received several certificates in music.
One reason I saw was that the father kept vacant space in the almirah
for the TV. He had warned his children that if any child got poor marks
in school because of laziness, immediately the TV would go into the
almirah, the almirah would be locked and the TV would remain there till
all the children passed the XII exam. The children were sure that this
would happen besides other punishments. Once a child wanted to keep
some clothes in that space. She requested her father, "Please can I
keep these clothes here. When you want to put the TV here I will remove
the clothes at once." The father was angry and scolded the child for a
long time. No on dared talk again but they saw the vacant space through
the glass doors in the almirah several times each day. Please note the
parents also were willing to sacrifice. No one in the family would have
been able to watch TV for several years if one child were lazy.
The opposite happened in another family. The father was in a high post.
The mother was also from a rich family. Every day women from the
neighbourhood would gather around the mother and talk nicely with her
for several hours. May be she gave them gifts or promised to get jobs
for their brothers, I am not sure. The children would listen to all
this and would not concentrate on studies. The father arranged tutors
also but the children were interested in what the women were speaking
and did not listen to the tutor. The father was very worried and would
often quarrel with the mother. The mother declared,"I do not interfere
in what you do in your company and you have no right to interfere in
what I do in my home." The child had to repeat class 3, three times.
Once he failed and once he changed schools where the new school made
him repeat the year 3 again.
Another example was given by a Hindu teacher of the president of
Pakistan. When the president was a child, this teacher taught him. Once
the child misbehaved and the teacher slapped him. The child's mother
being from a royal family, felt insulted. She complained to her husband
who was a top officer. The teacher explained the circumstances to the
child's father. The father smiled and said "A slap will have no effect
on a son of mine. Take this rod and use it the next time." The child
(future president) was hiding nearby to know the result. After that he
behaved correctly and never gave the teacher any reason to use the rod.
At that time physical punishment was thought good. When the child
became president, he remained grateful to the teacher. Later the
teacher related this story in India.