Children must learn that certain actions that are carried out have consequences, and that sometimes these consequences are not pleasant.
Punishment should always be the last resort that parents have to apply to this type of disobedient or defiant behavior of children. Moreover, we should not react the same if it is a baby who has committed a fault than a primary school child, so we give you guidelines to discipline or punish children according to their age.
If we adults want children to learn to respect the rules and limits, the first thing to do is try to be an example to follow and act by reinforcing the appropriate behaviors of the little ones whenever possible.
However, there are times when it will be necessary to teach childrenthe negative consequences of their actions and one way to do it will be by using punctual punishments and doing it in a rational way with the aim of educating the little ones. To achieve this we must take into account that:
- It should never be detrimental to your self-esteem. Punishment should not be understood as a way to make children feel bad but as a consequence of a certain action.
- When applying the punishment it is necessarythat the children understand why, and understand what happens when certain actions are performed.
- Punishment should be understood more as a deal. That is, what we have to do to achieve something, or things that should not be done to put aside the negative consequences.
As we already know, communication and positive discipline are the fundamental tools that should be used in the education of children. However, there are times when it will be unavoidable for adults to resort to punishment so that children learn between what is right and what is wrong. For the punishments to be effective it is important that the age of the children is taken into account.
- From 2 years to 5 years
In this preschool stage, it is important that punishments are applied immediately so that the child understands that the punishment is related to his bad behavior. At these ages the following punishments may be carried out:
- Talk to them in an energetic and firm tone. At this age children are very susceptible to the tone of voice with which they are spoken. Therefore, addressing children seriously helps them to know that they have not acted correctly. For it to work you have to use this technique sparingly. That is, not screaming all day.
- Withdrawal of privileges. At this age, when you are not more than five years old, the withdrawal of a favorite toy will be a punishment in which the child will clearly see that their bad behavior carries consequences.
- Overcorrection. It will be after 3 years in which consequences based on reinforcement are used and that is useful to end those "bad" behaviors that the child continues to perform after trying other techniques that have not worked.
- Thinking chair? We must ask ourselves if it is really an effective technique for such young children. It is a method widely used in nurseries, and at home. But we have to ask ourselves before carrying it out if the child at that age is maturely capable of thinking about what he has done and reaching positive conclusions.
- Time out. It is an effective technique against aggressive and disobedient behaviors. It is about removing the child from the situation where he has committed a bad action giving him the opportunity to calm down outside the place where everything has happened. (different from the “thinking chair”) The length of time out will vary depending on the age of the child, so we will try to apply no more than one minute per year. The child must not be permanently in a time out.
- From 5 to 12 years old
At these ages, children are more aware of everything. Among those that already occurred in the previous stage, we can continue to use overcorrection to set limits. The withdrawal of privileges will also continue to be effective but changing some nuances:
- Do not watch TV, your favorite drawings.
- Do not go out to the park to play. Doing this if the child is for example three years old would be unfair.
- Not being able to use the Tablet.
- Time out is still used since it is still useful up to 10 years
- From 12 years old
When children are in their teens, the withdrawal of privileges must change again. This time, it will be effective that:
- Do not go out on the weekend with friends.
- Do not use the mobile
- Restrict social networks.
When applying all these punishments, it must be taken into account that for it to be educational they must be consistent, exceptional and balanced.
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