Raising children without punishment… is it just a myth?
Creative Education Consultant Celine Ganneban: Understanding what a child is going through does not mean complying with all his requests. For example, you can decline his request for a toy or candy, and be prepared to accept his frustration.
Neuroscience research concludes that severe and frequent punishments have a negative impact on a child’s growth and development. In this report, we present the testimonies of some mothers and fathers about the difficulties they face in raising their children, which were reviewed by the writer Florence Bagno in a report published by the newspaper “La Croix” (the cross) French.
Diane, 48, a mother of four, ages 11-18, says she had a traditional upbringing so she wanted a less authoritarian approach to her kids. She stated that she used to punish them when they were young by locking them up in a room in the house away from their bedrooms, because she knows that no one likes to be alone, and when they grow up, she punishes them by depriving them of leaving or their phones.
While Benjamin, a father of two children (8 and 10 years), confirmed that he never punished his children, because he believes that there are many ways to persuade others without imposing your opinion on him.
Benjamin depends in raising his children on the principle of explaining the consequences, and making his children take responsibility for their actions from an early age. And when they get confused, he says he addresses them in a firm tone so they don’t bounce back and makes sure they understand his recommendations.
“balanced” authoritarian education
Speaking about the principle of punishment in education, child psychologist Jill Marie Valley says that “a child is subject to a portion of the authority of his parents, but this authority must be thought in a balanced way, and recognizing the fact that effective punishment does not mean harming or humiliating the child.”
In order to understand how the concept of punishment in education has penetrated the imagination of parents, we should go back to history. In Roman society, for example, the paterfamilias had absolute authority over all family members, including the fate of his children (life or death). Corporal punishment at that time was part of the “natural” parenting methods that were believed to be necessary to raise healthy, obedient children.
With the advent of the Christian religion these beliefs changed and the head of the family no longer had the freedom to dispose of his children’s upbringing, and violent practices in education continued to be condemned during the Renaissance and with the philosophy of the Enlightenment in the 18th century.
However, corporal punishment within the family remained a reality throughout the 19th century and beyond, despite its criticism by intellectuals such as Victor Hugo, in the words of child psychologist Gilles Marie Valley.
Catherine Dumontai-Crime, founder of the Educational Day of Non-Violence in France in 2004, is one of the pioneers in promoting positive parenting in France, and believes that “a child can be set without harming him”.
Catherine advises identifying the underlying cause of the child’s inappropriate behavior such as physical discomfort due to feeling tired or hungry, emotional distress such as the need for attention or concerns about school.
According to creative education consultant Celine Ganneban, understanding what a child is going through “does not mean complying with all his requests. For example, you can refuse his request for a toy or candy from the supermarket, and be willing to accept his frustration. But many parents threaten their children with a punishment to end their crying spell afterwards. that”.
She stressed that “shedding tears helps the child get rid of the stress hormone and express and accept his feelings, so there is no need to exaggerate the punishment.”
The opposite effect of punishment
Neuroscience research shows that severe and frequent punishments have a negative impact on a child’s growth and development. “Abuse affects certain areas of the child’s brain…Parents may think that harsh punishment is more effective, but it is not,” explains Frank Rameau, director of research in the Department of Cognitive Studies at the Graduate Institute of Education.
Instead, it is enough to isolate the child for two minutes in his room to get him to give up the inappropriate behavior. On the other hand, harsh punishment leads to the generation of negative feelings that are counterproductive.
Condemn the behavior, not the child
Gil Mary Valley believes that punishment is meaningful if its purpose is “reform”, such as an apology from a friend who has wronged him or compensation for the purpose of his breaking, stressing that “punishment frees the child from guilt.” The last thing the child needs is for the parents to underestimate the mistakes he makes.
Instead, parents are advised to reverse the perspective by rewarding the child’s positive behavior more regularly, rather than just punishing them whenever they make a mistake. Frank Rameau says that “a smile, a hug or words of encouragement will have a great effect on the soul of the child.”