Punishment and Discipline

There are several techniques, which those in authority or power can employ so as to maintain discipline. In schools, corporal punishment has been a controversial method of ensuring that students toe the line (Shapiro, 2000). On the other hand, spanking of children is widely used by parents to ensure discipline. However, in the job market, motivation through various incentives has been preferred over other forms of punishment such as demotion and salary reduction.

In families, the methods used to maintain discipline ranges from spanking to reduction of allowances which parents and guardians give to their kids. Such means are used to make kids learn the societal norms and have self control. This paper will demonstrate that punishment is not an effective way of diminishing people with undesirable behaviors. Likewise, the alternatives, which can be used instead of punishment will be discussed (Hollin, 1992).

Punishment can be effectively used to serve its purpose when delivered appropriately. However, the shortcomings inherent in it, such as development of resistance, far outweigh the benefits. Positive punishment entails addition or introduction of an aversive stimulus so as to decrease the frequency of undesirable behavior. For instance, when one drives recklessly and is pulled over by policemen, then the bad behavior can be curtailed (Deutsh, 1993). In such a case, punishment is unavoidable, but if measures such as publicly shaming those who break traffic rules can prevent or reduce such dangerous behaviors.

However, when it must be meted out, the punishment should be equal to the misdemeanor committed. Further, the punished person should be made understand that the punishment is due to a certain misdemeanor. The timing and consistency of punishments is essential in maintenance of discipline (Shapiro, 2000).

The types of punishment used can be physical and verbal for children. Adults are usually punished by withholding various benefits, termination of employment, among others. Through the establishment of expectations, the targeted individuals know the behavior patterns expected and what might happen if one misbehaves. In some cases, punishment has been blamed for achieving the opposite of the intended ends. For instance, when punitive measures are taken, they may not have the intended impact on the offenders or even serve as a deterrent to the rest of the society (Hollin, 1992).

It is better to establish positive behavior patterns early in life. This method is cost effective when compared to jailing or sacking the offenders (Deutsh, 1993). Nevertheless, it can be argued that use of motivation is a better alternative to punishment. In a number of cases, if a child is punished for such tricks as as fighting a playmate or staying out late, he or she can end up more determined to commit such kind of acts once again.

On the other hand, when a child is engaged in positive acts, such as acting in a Sunday school play, and is rewarded, the child is usually more determined to continue being an active participant on Sunday school. Further, when punishments are used often, they achieve the opposite because one may end up developing resistance to punishment (Deutsh, 1993). Therefore, preventive measures such as family, community and school counseling programs with attached rewards can be better used to ensure that the targeted individuals behave in a socially acceptable manner.

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