Punishment refers to a situation where something painful or unpleasant is presented or something rewarding is removed following a behavior, thereby making that behavior happen less frequently in the future. Discipline, on the other hand, means nothing more than teaching a child a system of practical rules of conduct. Discipline in child rearing must not be confused with punishment. All children have the right to humane and non abusive discipline. Thus while parents must often concern themselves with matters of discipline, punishment should actually be used in the smallest minority of situations.
I have seen well-disciplined classrooms where the primary methods of teaching involved rewarding good behavior and ignoring the bad. The children were diligent in their work and delightfully free and happy in their play. I know parents whose children are a joy to be with, inquisitive, happy and well-behaved. The are also seldom punished. Their parents do, however, eliminate various inappropriate behaviors very skillfully in other ways.
Dr. Tom, 1/31/10