"Punishment Trap"-Part Two
The following is an example of a punishment trap in action.
A parent who slaps his child for running and yelling will likely stop the running quickly and thereby gain quick relief from the disruptive behavior. This immediate reward for the parent will likely tempt him to hit his child again to stop other irritating misbehaviors. The parent is rewarded for hitting his child and is more likely to hit in the future.
However, children can adapt to (get used to) the pain of being hit. Therefore the more that hitting is used to control behavior, the less effective it becomes. This situation is one in which the force of the hit must be increased to maintain the short-term effectiveness of using pain to control behavior.
This can become a vicious cycle that not only fails to work effectively, but escalates to the point that it causes physical damage to children.
The punishment trap is one way that true child abuse can develop.
When punishment over-used to control the behavior of children they can grow, angry, hateful, vengeful, fearful, anxious and more....all bad things. When the punishment is in the form of physical pain, these kinds of bad things can develop more rapidly.
Look-out for the punishment trap!
Dr. Tom, 1/26/09