Do You Honestly Think Punishment Works?

When we punish our children, there is nothing that benefits them in the learning process.

Most of the time, we use punishment because our children made a mistake or disagree with us. We think the best way to teach our children is to inflict negative or imposed consequences to change their behaviors. 

I often hear that you need to be consistent with your punishment, which will be more productive. These ideas are outdated and false. Your children learn from how you respond and the actions you take to solve problems and never from the demands you place on them, no matter how repeated. 

Not only does punishment not work, but it is also ineffective with having your children understand what they did wrong. Or maybe they didn’t do anything wrong but weren’t listening to what you needed. Either way, why would you purposely want to cause distress to someone needing your support and guidance?

Do you want to teach your children that your tolerance level is determined by how well they can meet your needs?

Stop acting like you had kids for selfish reasons.

One of the basic fundamentals of a relationship is having a mutual acceptance of other’s needs. Because you are the parent, it doesn’t automatically give you authority. That power needs to be acquired and developed to gain your children’s attention and strengthen your influence.

The best way to teach your children their needs are important is through good communication and displaying this by using simple “I” messages. Instead of the constant, “you did this wrong” or “you never listen,” explaining things effectively with what you need eliminates the shame that hinders your child’s development. 

I have seen too many parents change the wording and definitions to justify their actions. They use discipline instead of punishment or consequences instead of discipline, but they still resort to imposing consequences on their child. Changing the words but repeating the same cruel treatment sends mixed signals about your parenting goals.

A father’s parenting goals should be aligned with his values and how this affects their family.

Having your child to sit in a timeout only teaches them to suffer alone for mistakes they have made. We think this pain of loneliness and abandonment will somehow change their thinking and quickly fix the problem. 

It is terrifying for a child to have parental love withdrawn.

Timeouts have the opposite effect and create an acceptance of isolation that teaches them to suppress their feelings. With punishment and timeouts, you teach your children that they will only make things worse if they express a voice or objection. Doing this is a sure way to teach them to never confide in their parents when they are hurt. 

If your go-to strategy is punishment, you teach your child to develop defense mechanisms and lie when they may be doing something against your approval. If honesty is the goal, you need to be honest about your approach and what values you create in your home.

Telling the truth is difficult for everyone and needs to be encouraged for your child to accept their role in the family. It is also necessary for you to maintain your leadership role in the home. 

A father’s responsibility is to bring out the best in himself to affect his children’s outcomes positively and not give in to the temptations of abusive power. When disciplining your child, ask yourself what lessons are being learned and how this will affect their future?

Your kids learn your values by your actions and not the demands you force on them.

What does it look like to create a peaceful home?

To remove the destructive patterns of punishment, discipline, and forced consequences, you must have a plan that brings you back to the natural leadership role. You need to influence your children in such a way that they follow your lead with admiration and curiosity.

The lessons you teach need to come from a place where your children know you have their best interests at heart. Be open-minded and know there are always things you need to learn and ways to improve as a father. 

When my son was younger, he hated wearing a coat. Of course, there were fights about him getting sick and freezing, but ultimately I decided he needed to live with the natural consequences of his actions. I made the situation about me being right and never considered his feelings. 

Thinking back now and understanding my role, I should have stopped these unnecessary conflicts and learned a valuable lesson. Instead of watching my son freeze at the bus stop and waiting to tell him, “I told you so.” I could have brought his coat and offered it out of kindness. At that moment, my son would have known his father would always be there for him. 

To obtain peace and order in your home, you need to apply a few techniques contrary to traditional parenting methods that rarely produce the desired results. When your only tools are power and control, it always leads to unnecessary punishments. 

Abusing power is the cause, not the cure. 

Learning to listen has profound effects on the child-parent relationship and is vital to displace any power struggles. You want your child open to discussing their problems with you without judgment or dissatisfaction. 

Active listening refers to a way of being there for your children but not always giving them the answers. Most parents think it is their responsibility to solve their child’s problems and shows how misdirected power causes issues. 

When you find ways to solve your problems, it leads to your children following those same practices. You teach them to seek advice and help but solve issues independently and always need you for solutions. 

Following simple guidelines like these create cooperation and reduces the need for punishments. Because now your child’s behavior is not seen as defiance and an attack against you but instead invites you to be empathetic about their hardships.

Listening helps in all areas of your child’s life. Whether it is wearing his coat, not wanting to clean his room, or going to school, you can start to listen when you stop being reactive. 

Instead of your child’s issues becoming a burden on you, you can help guide them to finding their solutions. Again this dramatically reduces the need for punishments because your child’s problem does not become yours, and the burden of your inability is lifted. 

“You can control your children through threats and punishment and they will learn to fear. You can control their behavior by praise and reward and they will learn to look outside themselves for approval and for worth. You can watch over their every movement, every action, every decision, making sure they are doing “right”, and they will learn to always doubt themselves. Or you can love and guide without controlling or interfering and they will learn to trust themselves”.

— William Martin, “The Parent’s Tao Te Ching”.

Do not make your child follow your rules; teach them to think for themselves—transfer positive reinforcement of your values by constantly parenting with virtue. 

You know right from wrong!

We need to remember we are the leaders of our home and for this to follow the natural development of healthy families, we need to remove destructive behaviors in ourselves. 

You cannot have order and discipline when your child is always at the losing end of an argument. To have your child’s attention, you must provide them with the quality of a satisfying relationship. This will involve giving up some of your imaginary powers to find solutions that would otherwise be solved with punishment.

Finding ways to solve problems is your job. 

Learning to negotiate and build systems that offer win-win scenarios will bring cooperation to previously solved situations through harsh treatments. These treatments may not seem harsh to you but are painful for the child you are forcing to obey. 

You do not have a healthy relationship with your child if their feelings are never considered. You teach them they are unimportant to you and also set the stage for a life of insecurity and uncertainty. 

Find out how you are creating a “Nice Guy” here.

You are creating a citizen who blindly follows orders and submits to arbitrary laws. 

Zac at The Family Alpha points this out here: If we want to maintain our freedoms & live as sovereign individuals, we need to stop stifling the rebellious nature of our children.

Could you imagine how it feels to be exploring the world, experiencing new things, and have that abruptly taken away because you failed to follow orders?

The world will not improve until we move away from punishing, hitting, yelling, and abusing our children. 

Our actions based on our behaviors shape our families, which is how society is improved. 

If you need help with creating more peace in your home, schedule a meeting with me.




Anthony Migliorino

Peaceful Parenting Coach

Wondering if you can turn your parent-child relationships around, get kids’ mom on board and create the family dynamic you always wanted?

Book a coaching call today and let’s get you on a better path…

"Working with Anthony has been life changing. His wisdom, gained through years of experience, has been invaluable in my journey to become a better father and a better man."

- Jim G

"Not only am I a better father because of working with Anthony, I am a better man. Anthony has positively impacted my family for generations to come. I can not adequately put into words how thankful I am to have him in my life.”

- Dr. Josh Clare, DPT

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