There are many forms of physical punishments. Spanking is the most familiar, but we also have slapping, kicking, punching. Spanking is an act of hitting, especially on the buttocks as a punishment for children. When an adult hits another adult we call it assault and we criminalize it.
So how do you use punishment effectively?
First, provide positive reinforcement for positive opposites. To be effective, this part ought to be the main emphasis to develop the behaviors we want. By emphasis, the positive behavior needs to be praised and attended to, much more often than the number of times that punishment is used for the negative behavior. So if the child goes to timeout three times a day for some misbehavior, the frequency of attention and praise for the positive opposite should be much more frequent; at least, two times that number. That can really be effective in eliminating the behavior and achieving enduring changes.
Second, the punishment ought to be mild and brief. A short time out or a loss of privilege will achieve any benefits of the punishment, more severe and intense does not increase the effectiveness. To change behavior, corporal punishment has not shown any advantage over mild punishment. And milder punishments are less likely to have enduring mental and physical health consequences that are associated with frequent hitting.
Third, these are powerful tools to eliminate unwanted behaviors and to develop positive pro-social behaviors, in place of those unwanted behaviors. The overall goal is to help you with challenges in the home, to make you even more effective as a parent, and to develop habits in your child that will be enduring.
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