Tuesday, May 15, 2012

To punish or not to punish


“How important is it to make someone feel punished?
Or is it more important for them to solve the mistake he or she has done?"


For kids, doing mistake is a very common thing. Spill over milk, played with your favorite bubble bath, treated your perfume like a room freshener, or simply disobeyed you. Many more things I don’t need to describe, I guess. Yeah, … those things that stood you up :)

For us, their parent, sometimes those were not only mistakes. Those were also things that stood us up. Many times, they were the reasons why we gave punishment to our kids. Reasons why we gave them Time Outs, grounded them for no chocolate or candies, to stay in their room or no TV. I hope none of us ever hit our kids just because.

I was included on those who gave Time Outs to my son, even though I tried to be democratic by letting him pick the spot.

But then I learned that giving Time Outs (or maybe any other form of punishments) was useless. They did not bring my child to higher level in learning life. I found that he did the Time Out just because I said so, not because he knew or understood that he deserved a punishment. Therefore he kept doing the mistake and a Time Out was no longer frightened him. Not only that. The most important is that giving a punishment did not solve the problem.

Then I started to think, “Is it important to make someone feel punished? Or is it more important for them to solve the mistake he or she has done?”

Ever since, I no longer gave my son Time Outs. I started introduced him the logical consequences, of every thing he has done. Good acts, bad acts, every decision we made, everything in life has consequences.

Voila, it works better than giving him Time Outs. He learnt his mistakes.

When he became sloppy and spilled his drink, he would take a tissue and wipe it off.

When I warned him to stop jumping around and he ended up bumped his head, he would take the medicated oil himself.

When he accidentally hurt someone, he would ask for an apology PLUS "What should I do to make you feel better" question. Yes, I taught him that because I know saying sorry (many times) do not solve anything.  But there are always things we can do to make people feel better.

When he refused to eat and kept playing, and his tummy got upset then he got ‘masuk angin’ and couldn’t stop vomiting, he knew he would need to take care all the mess.  And he did.

When he did not finish his meal or milk, I told him to never ask for meals / milk for the rest of his life and he should had been grateful of every meals I served him. He (finally) did finish his meals and at the next occasion, he carefully asked for the perfect portion he could finish.

Punishment won’t bring us anywhere, and maybe that is why this country is going nowhere. I hope I can make a little difference for the future, by teaching my kids to be responsible of all things he has done.

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