Sitting in Costa, enjoying my coconut milk flat white coffee, I witnessed a young girl, possibly around eleven years old, tapping the girl sitting next to her, probably her sister and around fourteen years old, with her foot on the older girl’s calf … annoying her.  The elder girl told her to stop a few times, she didn’t, she continued to tap, it wasn’t  really a kick, just an annoying tap. The issue could have may be been dealt with here, had the older girl, ASKED the younger one to stop. She didn’t ask, she TOLD her.

The younger girl carried on. The elder one then shouted “Mum, tell her” The mother turned to the younger girl and smacked her arm a few times, whilst saying “Just stop that!. She did stop. My thought was, you got the response you wanted though what else have you just done?  she had actually shown her it is okay to hit, smack or physically do something to another human being. She was carrying out the exact action that she was aiming to stop the girl doing! Where’s is the logic in it?  That is demonstrating I can do it, you can’t. You do as I say not as I do and encourages that behaviour in children, sometimes displaying itself in bullying. Not helpful.

Physical  deterrents, punishments are not helpful. Depending on how extreme, they can build up resentment, rebellion and are not conducive to good relationships. They don’t work. Have consequences when boundaries  and agreements are broken, so children can learn and understand the consequence of their action. Research shows that children who are physically punished often go on to be more physical, violent and abusive than those who are not.

Read more about Punishment V Consequences in my chapter on Ways to Prevent Unwanted Behaviour from my book Parenting Magic- A New Approach to Behaviour & Communication available on Amazon