What Is The Best Form Of Punishment For A Child?7 min read

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We were arguing about “what is the best form of punishment for a child” because she kept defending hitting children till they got injured as a form of discipline. I was against it 

She repeated it and this time with a high pitched voice

“Me, I will beat my children mercilessly, especially my first daughter. I want them to be useful. If not for the injuries and beatings I got from my own mother, I would have turned bad.

After all the beatings my mother gave me and you’re saying I will not beat my children. If you like, don’t beat your children and they’ll become useless and you will lose control over them”

Hearing this, I laughed out so loud (and long) it caught the attention of the others.

After being silent for most of the argument, I finally spoke

“I am always an advocate of discipline, truly I am.

And I am sure you will agree with me, at least, my morals will bear witness.

But beating a child and physically inflicting injuries on them is not the only form of discipline there is. Sometimes, beating a child becomes abuse, depending on how violently you had hit the child”

She uttered another word in her defence,

This time she said,

“Even the Bible said to spare the rod and spoil the child.

I’ll beat my children and even give them marks, my mom gave me marks so I’ll do the same to my children.”

Note: Marks here aren’t paint or tattoo marks. She meant scares from bodily Injuries

I looked up and said,

“That should be in Proverbs, right? although I don’t remember the particular chapter,

Look, Proverbs is a book of adage. If you know the meaning of an adage you’ll also realize that it has deeper meaning other than that which it puts out…

…but since you want to be literal about it, would you buy rods (and use them) to discipline your kids”

She said nothing.

I continued,

“There are many ways to discipline your kids without employing corporal punishments but there are 3 ways I find very effective.

How Do You Discipline A Child Without Yelling or Hitting?

#1 Praise Or Reward Good Behaviors

Point out their good behaviour, praise and reward them for it. Be sure to let them know why you’re praising them.

I remembered a time my mom always praised my twin for always coming first in class. she always talked about his intelligence and sometimes added extra meat to his food, reminding him “this second meat is for bringing the 1st position home”

I would get jealous and even cry sometimes after each meal, 

The next Term I would get determined to make good grades in school, 

I started by not sleeping off when my other siblings were having extra classes for me and my twin. 

At the end of the Term, I got the eleventh position in class for the first time (previously I would always get the 30th or 31st position) 

It wasn’t the best but she praised me and gave me all the privileges she gave my twin.

I was happy and it became the starting point of my good grades

#2 Scold

Scolding a child without yelling, abusing or using swear words is greatly underestimated

Actually, this is a method that works on and for me all the time. 

Sometimes when a child is yelled or talked down at, it leaves imprints of emotional injury and hate in their psyche. And this (negative approach) only lasts for the short term.

However, sitting a child down and telling them the dangers of their ill behaviour, or (better) telling them a story that depicts the negative results of their wrongs instil in them a different view; and has been proved to last for the long term.

It’s a slight difference in approach, but it makes all the difference – one attacks the child’s, the other attacks the problem.


#3 Apply Simple Logical Consequences.

I was 7 at the time, I loved staying in the dark cause it gave room for all kinds of play, 

I played in the dark with my brothers, but my mom warned us to not stay in the dark as she said it was dangerous…but I didn’t care.

One fateful night, my siblings were discussing about a movie and I had a lot of interest in the conversation.

I heard my name, it was my mom calling

I didn’t answer until the second time

Then I dashed out of the room to answer my mom, hoping to quickly come back to the discussion, 

I successfully made my way to my mom’s room in the dark

suddenly a hand caught me from behind

Laughing “devilishly” – like from the horror movies.

I screamed and tears kept pouring out my eyes because I was scared half to death 

My siblings rushed out with the lamp and torchlight, only to behold my mom standing there unaffected 

Then she said “next time go in the dark without a torchlight”

I cried a lot that night as I started imagining things.

Since then, I never stay in the dark

Because when I do, I start hearing phantom laughter”

So, How Do You Handle A Difficult Child?

By the time I was done listing better alternatives than the corporal punishments, everyone was laughing, Including my opponent (in the argument)

…shortly, she gained consciousness (as though hypnotized into sleep by my points), then added sarcastically

“So, your mom didn’t beat you for once?”

I laughed again but this time mildly and shortly,

“Of course she did beat me and gave me 

injuries just like you. But she regretted and prayed in her heart they’ll heal

…most times I was actually innocent or…”

“Ehen and you’re saying another thing” She cut in as usual

I looked at her pitifully while adding 

“My mom is human and is prone to mistakes and there is no manual to train a child as children come with different characters and temperaments.

And in all,there are parts of her I would want to be and parts I wouldn’t want and that goes for my children. There are parts of me they would admire and parts they wouldn’t.

Our parents grew up with a particular way to train their children, most times I don’t know where my mom got the wisdom to use some other strategies to discipline us but I love those strategies she employed (because they worked very well without leaving the scars)

I’m an adult now and I understand them (these disciplinary measures) and know their effectiveness.

And for the last part, I don’t think I would ever want to control my kids (with fear, money, or anything). 

The goal is not to punish children into submission but to help them make better choices for the future. 

I want to be able to guide and maybe lobby their decisions. 

The control is something i don’t think I want”

As though deaf to all I’ve been saying, she said 

“So, you won’t beat your kids?”

I replied,

“I never said that

What started this argument was, I don’t think I would want to beat my kids and even if I do, I don’t want to beat them often. 

Before you came for me”

“Oh okay…Unless shaa” she replies in defeat


Editor: I think parents/guardians should use the least necessary force in situations where verbal communication won’t work. And, they should do it with the intention to help, not show their dominance over the child. Like Ekenna Marvee mentioned already, this would require the use of love, logic, and a bit of psychology.

And I think this video (of Dr. Jordan Peterson Talking about disciplining kids) is also helpful.

Don’t Let Your Kids Do What Would Make You Hate Them


Ekenna Marvee: What do you think about using corporal punishment to correct a child??

Also, what other method do you suggest is the best form of punishment for a child?

Reply in the comment section

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6 thoughts on “What Is The Best Form Of Punishment For A Child?<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">7</span> min read</span>”

  1. This is an awesome piece.

    It also applies, to a reasonable extent, to older siblings, relatives, and guardians.

    This is beautiful because it not only applies to children but to everyone as well.

    If we praise/reward as much as we criticize/punish we are bound to have better relationships and better lives as well.

    And it is something, like every other thing worth doing, we have to do consciously.

    • Anonymous,
      You get the point, in raising kids through this method, we influence the way they handle conflicts and in turn raise them into better adults.

      Thereby raising parents/guardians/teachers and the rest of the others into adults with more efficient and loving way of treating each other.

      I love how you picked out this point too.

      Thank you so much for your valued feedback


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