Punishment of children: useful or harmful?

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La punishment it is an educational intervention based on the application of a punishment by the parent towards the child. Today the punitive system has changed, we have moved from a particularly severe approach to softer approaches.

Read also: punishment in children: this is why self-discipline is better

Even if children sometimes put a strain on their parents' patience, it is necessary to understand that behaviors that do not correspond to their expectations are not a fault: we must educate and not inflict punishment.

The punishments provoke in the child a sense of mortification that does not help him to grow or to make him responsible.

The pedagogue Daniele Novara, founder of the Psycho-Pedagogical Center for Conflict Education and Management and author of the book "Punishing is useless", exposes parents to a method that proposes, in addition to the educational distances to be respected, new steps forward for an edifying relationship between parents and children.

The parent must be a point of reference for the child, an authority and a guide for the child growth process. The established rules must be clear and concrete, so that the parent / child relationship is not based on fear but on mutual trust. In this sense, the method of “active silence” is useful: a suspension of communication that helps the child to understand the rules.

We interviewed the pedagogist Daniele Novara on the subject of punishments.

Why is there no use in punishing a child?

“Punishing is useless because the child is mortified, if you try to educate your children with fear, this will never work. The child needs clarity, not to feel threatened by his parents in whom he places the utmost trust. "
Of course corporal punishment is also banned, and it is recommended to try to build a real educational organization. "We need to create a new beginning, where educating children is no longer based on fear."

What would be right to do?

“Children expect their parents to be parents. That is, that they know organize rules. Children are habitual and the more parents are able to build a predictable situation in which the child knows what can and cannot be done, then that nervousness and climate of tension is not created. "
Parents cannot expect correct behavior from children if they have not first clarified the rules in a coherent and univocal way.
Daniele Novara explains: “Children cannot imagine what their parents have in mind, so there needs to be greater educational cohesion, for parents to talk to each other more because they are the ones who guide the education and growth of their children. The children cannot do without a precise point of reference agreed between the parents themselves. "

What is active silence?

“Active silence is an idea that came to me when following I realized that parents lacked communication skills in difficult situations. So I invented active silence: a "red light". Daniele Novara continues: “If the child does or says wrong things, or wants to do something that he himself must not do, it is necessary to let him know with a very simple communication:“ It is the rule ”,“ It is not done ”.
"On the other hand, if the child really insists, active silence is very effective."
What's it about? "In suspension of communication for a few minutes, depending on age. You no longer speak to the child for a few minutes, firmly telling him that this communication is suspended because there is something wrong, something that needs to be done properly. It's a red light, it's not a punishment, but it's extremely effective. "

How to keep the right educational distance?

"The right educational distance presupposes that the parent can educate only if there is recognition: the parent is the parent and the child is the child."
There must be no parity between parents / children but a relationship of authority: “The parent is the parent and is the owner of the education. We need to get out of this misunderstanding of the friendly parent, of the parent who puts himself on an equal footing, who talks to his children as if they were his peers. The child has another type of thought, he cannot interact with reasoning. "
“We must not aim at reasoning, but at concreteness: 'it's done this way', 'I'll show you how it's done', 'we do it together then you will do it alone'. This concreteness creates the right distance. " Daniele Novara concludes:
"Between parents and children we need healthy and organized authority, the punishments deriving from those tensions that arise from not being able to keep the right educational distance are useless."

Watch the video with the pills by Daniele Novara:

Read also: How to educate children without resorting to punishment

  • punishments
  • 1-2 children years
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