When we become a parent, it brings much joy to us and our heart is filled with love. We want to give our best to our child. It’s inevitable that sooner or later we face the reality that our child does not always behave in the ways that meet our expectations. The question of whether we should punish our child eventually comes into our mind. So, should we?
The short answer is, “No, we should never resort to punishing our child.”
When our child is “misbehaving” in ways that we could not believe, and when all else fails, it is very tempting for us to resort to some sort of punishment method. At least to control the situation, or to solve the immediate problem that we’re dealing with. Here, I’m talking about parents who love their child and want the best for their child, whereas the parents who punish their child for the sake of torture, releasing temper, fun, or any ill-meaning reason are beyond the scope of this article.
The punishment method is called the dominant paradigm of parenting. It might work in the short term, however we pay long-term negative consequences from it. In this dominant paradigm of parenting, it is as if we’re exerting our power and dominance over a child. Do you think the child would like this, even though the child might listen to you and stop whatever “misbehavior” he/she is displaying?
No. Nobody would like this, not even a child. Over time, in the dominant paradigm of parenting, the relationship between the parent and the child is eroded. All sorts of other problems would surface. Serious, long-lasting problems. Is this worth it?
When we practice conscious parenting, we’re able to shift from the dominant paradigm of parenting to the empowerment paradigm of parenting. In the empowerment paradigm of parenting, we focus on building long-lasting healthy relationship with our child. Yes, this means that when we can easily use punishment to control our child’s behavior, we will choose to take more time and effort to communicate with our child, listen with empathy and compassion, and build connection with our child.
I personally experience this change of behavior in my daughter after I consciously practice the empowerment paradigm of parenting. A child is a child, and my daughter used to “ignite” my temper when she would “misbehave”. I use the quotation marks because it is really only “misbehavior” from my own perspective, because I now realize that my daughter was only just behaving in ways that she knew as a child at that time. At times, I would be so fumed that I would threatened to spank or use the cane on her, although I never did. And, fortunately our home is also cane free, so I had a hard time looking for one during those times.
The threatening and punishing my daughter with scolding never really worked. The behaviors did not really change for the better, and I was always left with regrets and guilt.
It was when I learned about conscious parenting and started to practice the empowerment paradigm of parenting and some related effective methods that I started to see the beautiful soul that my daughter is, and how she is such a caring and loving daughter. Nowadays, she would be thoughtful and caring for my wife and me, and for our home, in ways that I could never imagined. It is truly a joyful and grateful feeling that I sincerely hope that many of you experience and have as parents if you’re currently having some kind of challenge with your child.