March 15, 2024

Punishment vs consequences in parenting...

Yasmine Hammad
Know the difference.

As a Children’s Life Coach, I come across many children who get into trouble after behaving a certain way If they don’t follow the rules at home. When it comes to disciplining our children, I am a huge advocate for setting clear and defined boundaries with children to follow instead of punishing them.

What does it mean to punish?

To punish a child is to take away their right to make a decision. Leading to feelings of suffering, guilt, and shame, resulting in resentment and frustration.

I love to see my space spec-less, while my eldest daughter can stay in a room with things floating around her. If I am to punish her, I will raid her room—with the angry energy I am carrying—and take away her laptop/ phone and say she will get them the following week. Result: She will not learn to make healthy choices. She will resentfully clean her room, feeling that she is not loved and forced to do things around the house.

We are all born differently, and our experiences shape who we are as humans. For us to systematically expect our children to think like us in every way is wrong.

What does it mean to apply consequences?

There are two types of consequences: natural and logical consequences. The former is when the child goes out in the wintertime without a jacket and catches the flu. The latter is the one parents should strive to apply in their homes, which is a planned strategy for when the behaviors arise.

Using the same example as above:
I sit down with my daughter and discuss the importance of responsibilities and cleaning her room. I provided her with my logic and the time limit to get it sorted. Finding solutions together: during that conversation, I will try to help her figure out the ‘Why’ behind such behavior and how she can tackle it. Agree on the consequences: allowing her to devise the appropriate repercussions if she doesn’t do it at the specified time. Result: She had the tools, choice, and time to decide whether to clean it or face the consequences. This process will enable a sense of responsibility, confidence, and belonging in her home.

To sum up, throughout the ebb and flow of life, we are all learning how to behave, adapt, and be happy. Consequences are similar; they allow our children to experience making choices and being responsible for themselves. Be mindful not to take that away from them, and remember to tell them that you love them, no matter how many mistakes they make. Your love matters to them.

Lots of love,