Creative education consultant Celine Ganiban: Understanding what a child is going through does not mean submitting to all his requests. For example, you can refuse his request for a toy or candy, and prepare to accept his frustration.
Research in neuroscience has concluded that severe and repeated punishments have a negative impact on a child’s growth and development. In this report we present the testimonies of some mothers and fathers about the difficulties they face in raising their children, reviewed by the writer Florence Banio in a report published by the French newspaper “la-croix” .
Diane (48), a mother of four, aged between 11 and 18, says she had a traditional upbringing, so she wanted a less authoritarian parenting approach with her children. She said that she always punished them when they were young by locking them in a room in the house away from their bedrooms because she knew that no one likes to be alone, and when they grew up, she punished them by depriving them of going out or their phones.
While Benjamin, a father of two children (8 and 10 years old), confirmed that he never punished his children because he believes there are many methods to persuade others without forcing your opinion on him.
Benjamin relies on raising his children on the principle of explaining the consequences, and making his children accept responsibility for their actions from an early age. And when they make a mistake, he says he addresses them in a firm tone so they don’t do it again and makes sure they understand his recommendations.
“balanced” authoritarian education
Regarding the principle of punishment in education, child psychologist Jill Marie Valle says, “The child is subject to a part of the authority of his parents, but this authority must be thought of in a balanced way, and the realization of the fact that effective punishment does not mean hurting or humiliating the child.”
To understand how the concept of punishment in education permeates the imagination of parents, we must go back to history. In Roman society, for example, the head of the family had absolute power over all family members, including the fate of his children (life or death). In that era, corporal punishment was part of the “normal” parenting methods believed to be necessary to raise healthy and obedient children.
With the advent of the Christian religion, these beliefs changed, and the head of the family no longer had the freedom to dispose of the education of his children. Violent practices in education continued to be denounced during the Renaissance and with the Enlightenment philosophy in the 18th century.
Nevertheless, corporal punishment within the family remained a reality throughout the 19th century and even beyond, despite its criticism by intellectuals such as Victor Hugo, in the words of child psychologist Gilles Marie Vallée.
Accept the feelings
Catherine Dumontay-Crimi, founder of the Day of Educational Nonviolence in France in 2004, is one of the pioneers in the promotion of positive education in France. She believes that “limits can be set for a child without harming him”.
Kathryn recommends identifying the underlying cause of the child’s inappropriate behavior, such as physical discomfort such as tiredness or hunger, and emotional discomfort such as a need for attention or worry about school.
According to creative education consultant Celine Ganiban, understanding what a child is going through “doesn’t mean giving in to all his requests. For example, you can refuse his request to buy a toy or candy at the supermarket, and prepare to accept his frustration. But many parents threaten their children with a punishment to end the crying fit they have afterwards.”
She emphasized that “shedding tears helps the child to get rid of the stress hormone and to express and accept his feelings, so there is no need to exaggerate the punishment.”
The opposite effect of punishment
Research in neuroscience shows that severe and repeated punishments have a negative impact on a child’s growth and development. “Abuse affects certain areas of a child’s brain,” explains Frank Rameau, director of research in the Department of Cognitive Studies at the Graduate Institute, “Parents may think that harsh punishment is more effective, but it is not.”
Instead, it is sufficient to isolate the child in his room for two minutes to encourage him to abandon the inappropriate behavior. On the other hand, harsh punishment generates negative emotions that are counterproductive.
Condemn the behavior, not the child
Jill Marie Valley believes that punishment is meaningful if its purpose is “reformation,” such as apologizing to a friend who has wronged him or making amends for the purpose of breaking it, emphasizing that “punish the child freed from debt.” The last thing a child needs is for parents to underestimate his mistakes.
Rather, parents are advised to reverse the perspective by rewarding the child’s positive behavior more often, and not just punishing him whenever he makes a mistake. Frank Rameau says: “A smile, a hug or words of encouragement will have a great impact on the child’s psyche.”