Using Punishment Versus Discipline with Children

Punishment and discipline represent two very different beliefs about how to best respond to children's misbehavior.

Punishment - involves shame, blame, pain

  • Suffering, pain or loss that serves as retribution
  • Belief that more severe punishment will make it less likely for the behavior to occur again
  • Punishment remains the same no matter what the offense
  • Punishment comes from outside the child
  • Children learn to fear and resent authority

child in corner
Discipline - involves thinking, learning, taking responsibility

  • Natural or logical consequences as a result of misbehavior
  • The certainty, not the severity of the consequence matters
  • Discipline is determined based on how to best make amends for the mistake
  • Teaches children about taking responsibility for decisions
  • Discipline eventually comes from inside the child

boy thinking

Priceless Parenting focuses on using discipline for misbehavior with the goal to help children learn from their mistakes. This discipline will eventually come from inside the child so that when you’re not around they are still making good choices.

Many parents and teachers do hit kids. If you'd like to show your support for not hitting kids, please print and sign this pledge to never hit kids. Feel free to print copies for friends, family and teachers too!

If you want to learn more about how to use discipline with your children, check out our online parenting classes.