Consequences vs. Punishments

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By, Lauren Kolacki

When it comes to parenting, there are a million and one ways to do it. When it comes to dealing with bad behavior it usually comes down to two; consequences and punishments. Consequences are a result of one’s choices, whereas punish- ments make a child suffer from their mistake. Which tech- nique do you use?
The purpose of a consequence is to teach children how to do better in the future. Consequences can be a natural oc- currence, for example, a child doesn’t study for his or her test and they do poorly. The next test, they will think again before not studying. A punishment, in this case, would be the parents taking a picture of the lousy grade and posting it on social media. This would shame the child, in hopes the fear of embarrassment will be an incentive to not fail in the future.
Consequences are meant to help children learn. Kids un- derstand why they need to improve their behaviors when they experience the effects of their actions. Punishments are assigned out of frustration or anger and although may serve in the short term, are detrimental to a child’s view of self- worth in the long term.
When creating consequences for your child, you do not
want this choice to come from a place of anger, therefore, it is important to be thoughtful before doing anything rash. For a consequence to be productive, it is important to stay consistent and stick to your guns. Consequences should always be directed at the behavior and not at the person to ensure a decrease in misbehavior and not in self-worth.