Punishment Vs Discipline in Schools

Punishment Vs Discipline in Schools

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Corporal punishment is a way of disciplining and supervising unwanted behavior and decreasing the chances of occurrence of any undesired actions. Remember our younger days when punishments were inflicted on us either in schools or at home for committing mistakes or for misbehaving to halt the offensive behaviors. However, punishment is different from disciplining and advocates of school corporal punishment now ban such punishments on account of their negative effects and lay emphasis on varied ways of firm disciplines to train children.


Punishments can have both positive and negative impacts on the psychological development of the children. While few schools do stress on varied forms of punishments to restrict students, the law now prevents it, promoting awareness of children’s right to protection as well as making people conscious of more positive and non-violent forms of discipline by resorting to softer forms of training children.

There are basically four modes of punishment:

  • Physical punishment – spanking, slapping and using of equipment like belt, stick, scale, cane etc
  • Verbal punishment – using abusive words, shaming, ridiculing, cruel expressions
  • Withholding rewards – preventing from watching TV, playing games, meeting friends, visiting movie halls etc
  • Penalties – Forcing one to redo the work for which he/she committed mistake like wiping floor for drooping water, washing clothes for dirtying them and so on

The first two forms punishment are regarded as ineffective and incorrect while the last two can be referred to as effective discipline methods but depends on the ways adults administer them on the children.

The Negative Sides of Punishment

Punishment only teaches what ‘not to do’- Punishment fails to develop positive behaviors. It only causes fear and pain in turn causing aggressiveness to develop within the child. The child remains unaware of the reason for the punishment or the grounds on which his/her act has been prevented from being committed again. This might stand the chance of the child to repeat it later.

Punishment causes avoidance behaviors- Punishment causes aversion in the person.The child or the student possibly avoids both, the person who inflicted the punishment and thesituation in which the punishment was given. Parents and teachers must initiate positivity in the child. Punishment might frighten children causing them to stay away from school and home.

Punishment causes suppression of the undesirable behavior- As punishment teaches what not to do the child stops the activity that caused him/her the punishment for some time and then repeats them later without knowing the consequences.

Punishment constricts children- Without knowing the causethe punished child shuns all activities  that might be related to the punished action to avoid getting punished thus, causing constriction within him/her.

Punishment sets wrong example- A child gains an impression that punishment is the solution to all offensive behaviors. He/she then resorts to varied means of punishment such as hitting, kicking, spanking, verbal attacks and others to solve any undesirable issue. Children learn from the examples set by adults. These overtly aggressive behaviors might ruin the adaptive nature of a child, causing him/her to be violent towards people like classmates, friends, cousins and others.

Punishment causes retaliation- Punishment causes humiliation and dishonor of self esteem.A regularly punished child tends to remain upset and irritated. When it exceeds the tolerance level the child declares war or grows hostile, nurturing the feeling of revenge from within for long duration.

Punishment causes pessimism and negative self evaluations- Self evaluation develops self concept of a person. A positive self evaluation fosters positivity and high self esteem while negative self evaluation might cause pessimism or low self esteem.Self-evaluations are derived from others or people related to you. Any person being constantly punished forms a negative self concept and feeling of helplessness and incompetence in him or her. It ruins their confidence and causes them to refrain from social activity.

Positive Ways to Discipline Children

  • Punish a behavior, not the person
  • Punishment should never take the form of personal attack. Don’t abuse others or call names
  • Be sure that the punished person understands the reason for which he/she has been punished. The recipient should not be left with a the question “What did I do now?”
  • The punished person must know that he/she is loved and it’s just the action that was performed was inappropriate
  • Rebuke at the very beginning when the offense is committed to prevent it at the onset
  • Use effective disciplining methods for teaching children
  • Rather than punishment use more effective disciplinary methods
  • Do not use physical or verbal punishment for disciplining students
  • Punishments given must be related to the level of misconduct
  • Implement the punishment in a firm but kind manner

Effective Discipline Vs Harsh Punishment

Effective Discipline

  • Trains children to have self control and makes them aware of their mistakes
  • It is good for disciplining students
  • Makes them conscious of right and wrong behavior
  • Sets a good example to solve problems effectively
  • Carries a lesson
  • Builds self confidence and boosts self esteem through proper understanding

Harsh Punishment

  • Promotes aggressiveness and anger
  • Causes low self esteem
  • Provokes them to deceive parents
  • Causes unhappiness and confusion
  • Keeps them unaware of their faults
  • Promotes violence

Punishment is not a favored means to control the behavior of students. Many countries now strictly ban it and have set strict rules against it. To effectively guide and train students, schools now implement varied modes of disciplines that offer a lesson and educate them about their mistakes thus, guiding them towards a better life to be later accepted respectfully in the society.


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