Effective Punishment

This article contains a brief list of criteria for effective punishment.

Punishment tells a child what not to do, but it doesn't tell him what to do instead. Let's be honest. You've tried every form of punishment you can think of to get things to change and, so far, how well has it worked? Punishment doesn't teach a better, more appropriate alternative. It must be paired with information and feedback about what to do, not just what not to do. Don't get me wrong. Some kids seem to get the message with just one or two redirections (my euphemism for punishment). But you're not reading this book because you're raising that child. You're raising the child who makes you wonder if you'll ever get through to him.

Rules for Effective Punishment
Effective punishment:

  • Is preceded by a warning.
  • Has a set beginning and end.
  • Happens immediately.
  • Occurs at maximum intensity (does not increase in intensity or duration for additional infractions).
  • Is enforceable wherever your child is when the misbehavior occurs.
  • Is delivered in a matter-of-fact tone.
  • Is imposed every time that behavior occurs.
  • Is always accompanied by acknowledgment of the appropriate behaviors he should be demonstrating.
Steps for Changing Behavior
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