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How to raise children without punishing and rewarding them

raise children without punishing and rewarding them

If you have kids then you would probably understand what we are going to talk about here. Many parents have got themselves as well as their kids accustomed to the so called rewards and punishment approach wherein good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are punished.

While many parents believe that this approach would help them raise their children in a better way, studies have revealed that these practices could mold kids into undesirable adults, encouraging emotions like fear and greed.

Another study related to the book “21st Century Psychology: A Reference Handbook” points out otherwise. According to this book, while it may be hard to entirely forgo the practice of rewarding and punishing children for their good and bad deed respectively, change can be adopted in the way these rewards and punishments are meted out to the kids.

The reason for this approach, as pointed out by the book, is that the human brain has evolved over the years to function according to these rewards and punishments. As children grow, they tend to imbibe this practice in their day-to-day activities, and then impart the same on their children as well and so on. The result, is a rigid approach that is handed down from one generation to another, and a practice that is so imbibed in the system that a child who receives no rewards or punishments would tend to think that his/her actions, good or bad, do not have any consequences on his/her parents or the people around him/her.

Children who receive rewards automatically link the same to their good deeds while those who receive punishment link it with their misbehavior. And even if parents tend to restrict this practice at home, the child would be exposed to the same in schools and other places. This would create a negative impact on the kid who would start to feel confused about the mixed messages outside and at home. This in turn would lead to the kid falling behind his/her peers when it comes to learning about morally and socially correct behavior.

Hence, instead of getting rid of the reward and punishment system completely, parents are advised to find out different ways in which they can reward or punish their children without affecting the latter emotionally. For instance, playtimes and trips can replace bribes like sweets and chocolates during timeouts and talks can replace aggressive punishment methods. This would enable kids to self-regulate and internalize in the long run.

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