Positives and Negatives

Universal Discipline

Discipline takes many forms based upon various parenting tactics. Authoritarian, authoritative, and passivity are different approaches to child rearing. No matter the approach taken, parents should implement positive reinforcement whenever possible, and if they've been forced to discipline, it must never involve physical or mental abuse.
Tompsett, Micheal. World Map Splash Outline. 10700 World Trade Boulevard Suite 102 Raleigh, NC 27617. Great Big Canvas. Web. 12 November 2015.

U.S. vs. China

Many researchers have decided that raising children authoritatively is the best path to take. However, recently many believe that assuming one type of parenting is better than another excludes certain cultures and their parenting traditions.

Americans tend to have a different parental approach than other cultures. Many adults feel as if an emotional relationship with their children, and their ability to openly communicate with one another is crucial, making them softer when it comes to discipline. Many American parents are perceived as passive because of their reliance on healthy friend-like relationships with their children versus an aggressive “I am your superior” method of discipline. Meanwhile, the traditional Chinese parenting style is known as the “Tiger Mom”. A Tiger Mom is considered incredibly authoritarian and implements harsh discipline. These women see harshness as necessary to push their children toward success. This causes kids of Tiger Moms to constantly fear not being good enough.

No group of individuals can rule one cultural way of parenting better than another, but we can claim, based on our research , which acts of discipline are effective, and which are not.

Spanking: Do or Don't?

Spanking can differ from a light tap on the bottom to an abusive attack with an instrument including a belt or spatula. Recently, studies have shown that spanking can lead to increased aggression in children, poor parent-child relationships, bad mental health in children, and increased adult aggression (Knox). Children who are spanked are also more likely to abuse their own children when they become parents (Gershoff).

Corporal punishment (another name for spanking) was used in schools for a very long time and wasn’t completely abolished in schools until the 1980’s. The US has been one of the last countries to decide that spanking is wrong and leads to many issues. Canada has put strict restrictions on spanking at home, while 26 other countries including Italy have completely prohibited the use of spanking as punishment (Knox).

Spanking has been proven to be counter-productive, in the sense that parents model the behavior using violence in order to get what they want, making the kids more receptive to doing the bad behaviors once the threat of punishment is no longer present (Gershoff). Although, if one was spanked as a child, that does not mean they have all of the negative effects, but they are more likely to display these behaviors if they were spanked rather than if their parents used supplementary punishments including: setting firm consistent limits, giving consequences if a rule is broken, and rewarding good behavior (known as positive reinforcement) (Knox).

Psychological Discipline

Because there are many different ways to discipline their kids, parents can make mistakes. This can include taking things away, or negative punishment, and even verbal and emotional abuse.

According to The Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, grounding a child leads to a more negative reaction than adding chores. Negative reactions are consistent within research. According to Parents Matter, children and adolescents that are punished by grounding respond more poorly than those who are not.

The manner of discipline also correlates with the likelihood of the child doing the same wrong thing again. If a child is exposed to yelling, negative behaviors are very likely to follow (Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology).

According to a study done by The Journal of Social and Clinical psychology, parents who show less affection and more negative parenting styles are 20% less likely to be involved in the child’s life.

Reinforcement vs. Punishment

Reinforcement is any action that encourages a behavior. Punishment is any action that discourages a behavior. According to psychologist John Stadden, reinforcement and punishment both have the potential to improve the discipline of children. Reinforcement is the best way to shape new behaviors, while punishment is effective in stopping bad behaviors.

Parents should reinforce, or reward, their children when they do something right. According to child and family psychologist Dr. Tanya Gesek, punishment must be used in the correct way, with clear and consistent boundaries. Children should know ahead of time which offenses warrant punishment. When a child misbehaves, a parent should explain why the child is being punished, then give them a time out. Using the correct method of punishment is extremely important, because, according to Daniel Taylor, a pediatrician at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in North Philadelphia, children whose parents order them around without sufficient explanation or support often have too much stress.

For these reasons, the safest and most effective form of discipline is positive reinforcement. If children are rewarded for being good, punishment will become much less necessary.

Works Cited

Bowman, Carl Desportes. "Holding them closer." The Hedgehog Review 15.3 (2013): 8+. Student Resources in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Gershoff, Elizabeth T. "Spanking--Is It Harmful For All Children?." Pediatrics For Parents 28.3/4 (2012): 24. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Gesek, Tanya. "Tanya Gesek: Stop Yelling." Clip Syndicate Video. WSYR ABC 9 Syracuse, 6 Oct. 2014. Web. 10 Nov. 2015.

"Harsh parenting, more common among poor, impairs kids' brain growth." Philadelphia Inquirer[Philadelphia, PA] 11 Dec. 2013. Student Resources in Context. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Knox, Michele, and Jennifer Lentini. "On Spanking." Pediatrics For Parents 26.5/6 (2010): 25. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Kohler, Maxie, et al. "Tiger moms: five questions that need to be answered." Childhood Education 88.1 (2012): 52+. Student Resources in Context. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

Morin, Suzanne M., Carla Milito, and Nikki Costlow. "Adolescents' Perceptions Of Discipline Within Intact Families And Stepfamilies." Adolescence 36.142 (2001): 281. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

"Parents matter." Christian Science Monitor 13 Jan. 1999: 11. Student Resources in Context. Web. 11 Nov. 2015.

Staddon, John. "On responsibility and punishment." The Atlantic Feb. 1995: 88+. Student Resources in Context. Web. 13 Nov. 2015.