Monday, October 25, 2010


If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.
1.1 What is punishment?
Punishment is a worldwide phenomenon. Children are punished in almost all societies. Two key factors define punishment:
• physical violence against children
• concept of punishment in response to doing wrong
Punishment is the authoritative imposition of something negative or unpleasant on a person in response to behavior deemed wrong by an individual or group. [1]
1.2 Need for punishment
The other day two children were playing in the garden. A girl about 6 years and his brother about 3 years old. The boy did some mischief. The girl slapped him. The interesting thing to note is that the girl appeared to raise her hand high and pretended to slap with full force .Her expression was like that. But the slap was so soft that the boy could not have felt any pain at all. At the same time, he realized that whatever he did was wrong.
Punishment is for misbehavior or to discipline the children. When children misbehave it can be very difficult to think of anything other than making them stop .Discipline is the technique of helping a child to learn self control and how to behave in a socially acceptable way. Punishment should always focus n the positive reinforcement and self esteem of the child. Punishment is a type of Discipline. There are several types of physical punishment such as hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, pinching, shaking, or painful body posture and psychological punishment such as taking away the privileges or sending to their room etc. The purpose of punishment is to control the unacceptable behavior. Discipline and punishment techniques both attempt to correct the behavior[2][3]

1.3 Punishment at home
Normal behavior in children depends on the child's age, personality, and physical and emotional development. A child's behavior may be a problem if it doesn't match the expectations of the family or if it is disruptive. Normal or "good" behavior is usually determined by whether it's socially, culturally and developmentally appropriate.
The art of good parenting begins with the fundamental skill of seeing through the eyes of the child, of sharing child’s view of reality feelings and hopes. It is this awareness of the world that permits a parent or grand parent to love the child when lonely, to teach when inquisitive and to discipline the child who knows he is wrong.
As Wordsworth said, “child is father of man”. Childhood is the key to adulthood. Children are future citizens of the nation.
1.5 Kinds of punishments at school .
There are three types of punishments in schools.

1.5.1 Physical Punishments:

 Making the children stand as a chair
 Keeping the school bags on their heads
 Making them stand for the whole day in the sun
 Make the children kneel down and do the work and then enter the class room
 Making them stand on the bench
 Making them raise hands
 Holding their ears with hands passed under the legs
 Tying of the children's hands,
 Making them to do sit-ups
 Caning and pinching
 Twisting the ears
1.5.2 Emotional Punishments:

 Slapping by the opposite sex
 Scolding, abusing and humiliating
 Label the child according to his or her misbehavior and sent him or her around the school
 Make them stand on the back of the class and to complete the work.
 Suspending them for a couple of days
 Pinning paper on their back and labeling them "I am a fool", "I am a donkey" etc.
 Teacher takes the child to every class she goes and humiliates the child.
 Removing the shirts of the boys.
1.5.3 Negative Reinforcement:

 Detention during the break and lunch.
 Locking them in a dark room
 Call for parents or asking the children to bring explanatory letters from the parents
 Sending them home or keeping the children outside the gate
 Making the children sit on the floor on the classroom.
 Making the child clean the premises.
 Making the child run around the building or in the playground.
 Sending the children to the Principals.
 Making them to teach in the class.
 Making them to stand till the teacher comes.
 Giving oral warnings and letters in the diary or calendar
 Threatening to give TC for the child.
 Asking them to miss games or other activities
 Deducting marks.
 Treating the three late comings equal to one absent.
 Giving excessive imposition.
 Make the children pay fines.
 Not allowing them into the class.
 Sitting on the floor for one period, day, week and month.
 Placing black marks on their disciplinary charts.
2.1 Consequences of punishments
They say "spare the rod and spoil the child". To an extent it is true. Punishment has been used as corrective measure since ages. Be it our old 'ashrams', 'Gurukuls' or the convents of the West, teachers around the world have been using punishment as a corrective measure. Punishment as a corrective measure won't work at all. It is inhuman and insulting. Physical punishment crushes the initiative and innocence in a child. They discourage healthy relationship between teachers and students. Their relationship should be based on mutual love and respect. [4]

2.2 Punishment and behavior
 Punishment teaches children to be more adept at not getting caught.
 Physical punishment is very hard to deliver consistently and fairly.
 Punishment teaches children to punish others.
 The punisher gets punished.
 Punishment sets up negative behavior cycles.
 Punishment makes parents responsible for children’s behavior.
 It’s humiliating to the kids and may cause mental issues.
 Has the potential to cause lasting physical harm to kids
 Kids will not be deterred by punishments.

2.3 Punishment and relation between parent/teacher
Punishment diminishes or destroys
 the child's love for parent/teacher
 self-esteem, self-respect, self-acceptance - the child's
 the child's respect for parent/teacher
 the child's capacity to live a healthy life with minimum stress and internal conflicts
 the ability to accept responsibility
 the capacity to love another person, or themselves
 the right to a happy, loving, home, safe from fear
 the child's creative drive, learning - , and later, earning – power
 the chances of growing up to be non-violent parents and spouses
 their parents' chances of evolving into happy, stress-free human beings [5]

The researchers proved that approximately one-half of students who are subjected to severe punishment develop an illness called Educationally Induced Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (EIPSD). In this disorder, there is symptomatology analogous to the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As with PTSD, EIPSD can be identified by a varying combination of symptoms characteristic of depression and anxiety. This mental health imbalance is induced by significant stress; with EIPSD the stress is the inflicted punishment. Such victimized students have difficulty sleeping, fatigue, feelings of sadness and worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, anxiety episodes, increased anger with
feelings of resentment and outbursts of aggression, deteriorating peer relationships, difficulty with concentration, lowered school achievement, antisocial behavior, intense dislike of authority, somatic complaints, tendency for school avoidance, school drop-out, and other evidence of negative high-risk adolescent behavior[6]
3.1 How to change behavior or discipline children?
Discipline is a short-term investment that has positive long-term returns. Discipline teaches a child to obey rules, make better choices and control his or her own behavior. Parenting with Love and Logic to be one of the most helpful approaches
The decisions for structuring consequences should follow the Three R’s.
The responses should be
1. Related to the misbehavior,
2. Respectful to the person involved,
3. Reasonable in amount.
Consequences work best when they are set up in advance and agreed to by both parents and children. While this is not always possible, many problems such as fights with brothers and sisters, and uncompleted chores occur regularly and the consequences can be planned and agreed to in advance.
Most importantly, we must remember that discipline should be done with an attitude of love with the intention of teaching children to make good choices, accepting responsibility for their actions and the subsequent consequences.

3.2 Promoting Optimal Parent-Child Relationships and Reinforcing Positive Behaviors

For discipline techniques to be most effective, they must occur in the context of a relationship in which children feel loved and secure. In this context, parents' responses to children's behavior, whether approving or disapproving, are likely to have the greatest effect because the parents' approval is important to the children. Parental responses within the context of loving and secure relationships also provide children with a sense that their environment is stable and that a competent adult is taking care of them, which leads to the development of a sense of personal worth. Certain conditions in the parent-child relationship have been found to be especially important in promoting positive child behavior, including:
 maintaining a positive emotional tone in the home through play and parental warmth and affection for the child
 providing attention to the child to increase positive behavior
 For older children, attention includes being aware of and interested in their school and other activities;
 providing consistency in the form of regular times and patterns for daily activities and interactions to reduce resistance, convey respect for the child
 responding consistently to similar behavioral situations to promote more harmonious parent- child relationships
 Being flexible, particularly with older children and adolescents, through listening and negotiation to reduce fewer episodes of child noncompliance with parental expectations. Involving the child in decision-making has been associated with long-term enhancement in moral judgment.

3.3 Strategies for parents /teachers that help children learn positive

 providing regular positive attention
 listening carefully to children and helping them learn to use words to express their feelings
 providing children with opportunities to make choices whenever appropriate options exist and then helping them learn to evaluate the potential consequences of their choice
 reinforcing emerging desirable behaviors with frequent praise and ignoring trivial misdeeds
 modeling orderly, predictable behavior, respectful communication
3.4 Reducing and Eliminating Undesirable Behavior
 Encouragement/Praise: Identifying specific behaviors and strengths that encourage the child to develop and increase self-esteem. “That model car looks great! I like the color you chose. You did a job you can proud of!”
 Positive Communication: Using language in positive terms to describe what you want, rather than what you don't want. For example, a parent saying, “Walk around the pool” rather than “Stop that running” is focusing on encouraging desired behavior while still getting the point across.
 Active Listening: Listening with understanding and then clarifying the statement and responding to the feelings. For example, “It sounds like your teacher really scolded you in class. You must have felt embarrassed.”
 “I” Message: Communicating by phrasing in the first person such as, “I feel worried and upset when I don't know where my children are. I would like you to tell me where you are going so I won’t have to worry. Thank you.”
 Redirecting: Substituting an acceptable behavior for an unacceptable one. “Raju, you can’t play with Rit’s stereo, but let’s go find your crayons and paper so that you can make a picture.”
 Incentives, Rewards and Motivators: Providing short-term incentives to help the child focus on desired behavior. If his job list is done, he can go for ice cream Saturday. The younger the child, the shorter the period of time before a reward should be given.
 Removing Privileges: Losing a privilege related to the unacceptable behavior. The loss should be of short-term duration. Losing use of the phone, time with friends or TV, and so forth could be used depending on what is important to the particular child.
 Contracting: Negotiating with the child to create a written mutual agreement that provides incentives to help the child, particularly with adolescents, focus on a desired behavior.
 Role Modeling: Showing by example the behavior one wants from the child. If one shows respect for the child’s property and privacy, the child will learn to respect the property and privacy of others.
4.1 Statistics on punishment/children abuse
According to the researchers the only data on child abuse in India that are rather trustworthy are the data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). The numbers of NCRB show a steep rise in the total number of crimes against children
This study:
• Covered 13 states
• Sample size: 12447 children (51,9% boys, 48,1% girls; 25,4% from Scheduled Castes, 15.1% Scheduled Tribes, 29.2% Other Backward Classes), 2324 young adults, 2449 stakeholders.
• Different forms of child abuse: physical, sexual, emotional abuse, girl child neglect
• 5 evidence groups: children in the family environment, children in school, children at work, children in the street, children in institutions.

Across different kinds of abuse, it is the young children, in the 5-12 year group, who are most at risk of abuse and exploitation. Percentage of children reporting physical
4.6 Legal Position:

Law and legal systems are expected to protect the children from abuse of authorities either at home or at schools or at systems of administration of justice duly considering their childhood, innocence and incapacity to understand. Children below seven years are exempted from criminal liability.
4.7 The Law and Childhood
Section 23 of new Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 provides punishment for cruelty to juvenile or child. Whoever, having the actual charge of or control over, a juvenile or the child, assaults, abandons, exposes or willfully neglects the juvenile or causes or procures him to be assaulted, abandoned, exposed or neglected in a manner likely to cause such juvenile or the child unnecessarily mental or physical suffering shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or fine, or with both. This section has no exceptions to exempt parents or teachers. Though it is intended to punish cruelty by those in authority, it equally applies to parents and teachers also.
4.8 The countries that banned punishment to children
The countries include: Sweden (1979), Finland (1983), Norway (1987), Austria (1989), Cyprus (1994), Denmark (1997), Latvia (1998), Croatia (1999), Bulgaria (2000), Italy (1996), Isreal (2000), Germany (2000), Iceland (2003), Romania (2004), Ukraine (2004) Hungary (2005) Greece (2007) and Australia (2007).[7]
4.9 Conclusion
Child discipline is about guiding a child to make choices on his/her own. Such techniques teach a child to feel good about them. A child who feels good about himself/herself has consideration for others. Discipline takes time, thought, love, compassion and creativity.[8]
If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to be guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,

Children do not come into the world knowing how to get along with others or behave appropriately. Children are the living face of divine; because they do not carry prejudice, envy or jealousy. They are simply pure at heart. So why simply punish them for the cause of “Discipline”?

This paper is presented by Varsha of second year student

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