The word punishment in dictionary terms refers to ‘a penalty inflicted for an offense, fault, etc.’
A punishment is often used in response to a behaviour – the behaviour is sometimes seen to be an offense or a fault on behalf of the individual.
Is punishment about teaching someone to think about things differently or is it aimed at wanting them to ‘toe the line’?
Punishment can be given in many different ways – verbally, physically and mentally, all of which can have long lasting effects on someone’s wellbeing. Punishment is often a negative consequence that aims at trying to stop the behaviour (with the hope of it never returning).
We need to ask ourselves some very important questions:
Is punishment sustainable?
Does this type of consequence ‘fit’ the behaviour?
Are we looking close enough at the reasons for the behaviour?
Using natural or related consequences helps to teach someone the outcome of an action or a behaviour – to learn that their actions have a consequence.
For example, if the daily chore was to empty the bins and the person swings the bin around in the air, having all the rubbish fall out on the ground, then the consequence would be to pick up all of the rubbish. It is a logical consequence as they learn to take responsibility for what they do!
If natural consequences are going to be dangerous or reward an unwanted behaviour, it might mean rethinking some strategies to help support.
Please contact us if you’re needing assistance in relation to behaviour and consequences!
Written by Sherri Cincotta