Watch Out For The "Punishment Trap"!
Damaging child-rearing errors are too often made in the name of discipline. Child abuse has reached near epidemic levels in America. Look around in restaurants, markets, recreation areas, and you will see parents trying, sometimes desperately, to control their children by hurting them. I have seen angry parents screaming at their young children, threatening them, hitting them, pinching ears, pulling their hair, jerking their arms and violently shaking their bokies. I shudder to think what must happen in the privacy of these parents homes.
For too many parents, it is easier to scold or hit a child for misbehavior than to define approapriate behaviors and then patiently reward these until they predominate. Since punishment generally produces instant changes in a child's behavior, parents are rewarded for thier abusivce ways and learn to scream, hit, and otherwise mistreat their children more often in the future. This has been called "the punishment trap".
The punishment trap frequently ruins lives.
Look out for the punishment trap! Jump, with both feet, into reinforcing your child's good behaviors.
Dr. Tom, 1/24/10