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Conventional punishment based on 'you run out of play, don't watch TV or go out ...' no longer has almost any effect on children. Child psychologist Mª Luisa Ferrerós, author of the book Punished! Necessary? It recognizes that this type of punishment does not cost the child any effort and is not directly related to what he has done wrong and, therefore, beyond the punctual sanction, they are not useful to correct the child's behavior in the future.
Far from physical punishment, understood as slap or slap, the privative punishment that has been so in vogue in recent years is not effective. In practice, staying without watching TV does not involve any effort for the child because they can read a story, play on their mobile or play the game, substituting that activity for another.
Telling him that he doesn't go out is not going to be a big problem either because at home he can talk with his friends on the phone, through chat, messenger or other types of social networks. The psychologist Mª Luisa Ferrerós assures that 'this type of exclusive punishment does not mean anything to the child and, therefore, does not serve as punishment. Punishment is a sanction, but must have an educational consequence that comes after an inappropriate attitude of the child that I want to correct so that he can learn and control himself '.
Correcting the child's attitude so that he does not do what he has been punished for is what all parents expect when they punish their children. Nevertheless, the general complaint is that the child does not care and does the same thing again and again, so parents despair. To end this endless wheel, the psychologist Mª Luisa Ferrerós proposes that 'educational punishment be exceptional, consistent, firm and constant. You cannot be punishing the child for everything, because then it becomes saturated and does not pay attention to anything. When you impose a punishment you have to comply with it, and it is important that it is appropriate to what the child has done. For example, it cannot be that the child drops the glass of water and does not go out for a week. ' Therefore, Punishments should never be disproportionate, but consistent.
How are punishments different from educational consequences? Educational punishment has to cost the child an effort to help him control himself and so that the next time he does what is wrong, the child thinks twice. This is the most important characteristic of educational punishment, that it costs the child something.
The educational consequences have to be immediate, consistent, enforceable and firm. As practical examples of educational consequences for inappropriate behavior in children, the child psychologist Mª Luisa Ferrerós proposes the following:
- If the child has not done homework in the afternoon at the corresponding time: wake up the child at 6 in the morning to do it.
- If you have not wanted to shower: the next morning you will not have clean clothes to go to school.
- If he has not dressed in time to go to school: assess if you can wear him in pajamas (buy one that looks like a tracksuit).
- If you don't come to dinner after calling you many times: dinner is removed and frozen. You can give it a yogurt, nothing more.
The firm attitude of the parentsKnowing how to say no and being convinced that what we are doing is for the good of our child is the most important thing for children to understand that they must change their behavior.
And many parents do not know what to do to make our children behave well. To answer this question, Mª Luisa Ferrerós acknowledges that "among the failures that today's parents have when it comes to educating our children, the most important is insecurity, trying all methods and changing patterns very quickly. and often. And also the lack of union in the couple when acting because within the parents team it is very difficult for us to agree ".
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