Dr. Elisa Medhus, in a book entitled, “Raising Every Day Heroes: Parenting Children to be Self-Reliant”, states that there is a difference between discipline and punishment. As a teacher I’ve noticed when I am firm and use discipline, children can learn to control themselves. Naturally, this policy should go for the home-front first and foremost. The difference is that punishment is really about disapproval, and disapproval is usually expressed with negative judgements, insults and threats. Usually, the child’s self-worth is at stake when parents, mentors, and teachers are punishing. Once a child’s self-esteem erodes, he begins to lose faith in himself to make the most practical and sometimes elevated decisions. Eventually, the child will put more weight on other individuals’ choices, opinions and values than his own. It becomes a vicious cycle as misbehaviors tend to increase.
Reflect on the time you were a child and consider how you were affected when you were punished. Is it possible that you have a sub-conscious belief that you were bad? Is that why you now feel you are not worthy of love? Were you blamed for another person’s pain as a kid, and do you carry tremendous guilt today? Do you now think that it’s your responsibility to make others happy so you can feel worthy? Are all these messages why you don’t love yourself today, and why you don’t honor yourself? A lot can go wrong in child rearing. Don’t make the same mistakes your family made with you. Understand the difference between punishment to control, and healthy discipline to set fair boundaries.