Difference between Discipline and Punishment

difference between discipline and punishment

Making mistakes and learning from them, that’s the essence of childhood. Parents try various methods to improve their child’s behavior, such as discipline and punishment.

Discipline has a very positive impact on children that not only teaches or encourages but also helps them to know about the standard of code of behavior that is expected of them.

Meanwhile, punishment is used to reduce the recurrence of bad behavior by punishing children for unwanted behavior. The goal is to stop the child from doing any action that he shouldn’t and for this some painful or unpleasant techniques are used to stop it.

In this opportunity, let us learn the difference between discipline and punishment, but before that, let us first understand the meaning of discipline and punishment.

Definition of Discipline

Discipline can be defined as a process that helps a child or teenager understand how he or she should act or behave in the world and learn self-control. When a person is disciplined, he follows instructions and obeys the rules of society. It’s all about getting your child to learn what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

It is understood as a state of systematic behavior of a person which is acquired or learned with proper training in self-control and according to societally approved norms and standards.

Discipline is one type of training that corrects, shapes, strengthens or refines a child’s behavior or attitude.

Effective discipline involves guiding a child’s behavior, setting boundaries, teaching principles, defining fair and reasonable rules and expressing expectations to develop habits, attitudes, codes of conduct, etc., within them that are widely accepted. For this purpose, rewards and punishments are used to increase the occurrence of the desired behavior and reduce the occurrence of the undesired behavior.

Definition of Punishment

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Punishment refers to a form of operant conditioning that involves suffering certain unpleasant consequences on a person for his or her fault. It is basically retaliation for unwanted actions or behavior which is completely unacceptable. It follows the operant response and seeks to reduce the likelihood of its occurrence in the future. It is based on fear and suffering to make the child obey the rules and learn the lesson.

It consists of punishments and prohibitions, which make the child fear the consequences. The thought behind the suffering of punishment is that:

  • Penalties for changing behavior: If a child feels bad for their actions, then they will stop the activity in the future or they will be triggered to reform their behavior in the future.
  • Retributive penalties: Punishment or pain is inflicted by the authorities as a consequence.
  • Restorative punishment: Changing a child’s behavior while recovering the damage caused by that behavior or action.

However, there are a number of studies that prove that punishment is not the right technique to encourage positive behavior.

Type of Punishment

  1. Positive Punishment (Penalty with Application): This is a type of punishment in which an aversive stimulus is given for wrongdoing.

  2. Negative Penalties (Penalties by Elimination): In this form of punishment, the desired stimulus or pleasure is taken after the offense has occurred.

Difference Between Discipline and Punishment

  1. Discipline implies to instruct or guide a pupil, to adhere to and pursue a certain code of conduct in an effort to prevent future behavioral problems. Otherwise, Punishment is the imposition of pain or suffering as a deterrent, thereby making adolescents feel ashamed of their behavior or actions.
  2. Temporary discipline give choice, punishment demands obedience to the rules on the part of the child.

  3. Discipline The aim is for children to learn from their mistakes in order to develop good behavior in the future. On the other hand, in punishmentthe basic goal is to make the child pay for his mistakes.

  4. Discipline used to teach children to obey rules or to polish their behavior. Otherwise, punishment intended to improve children’s behavior to reduce the possibility of violations either by adding unpleasant stimuli or eliminating pleasant stimuli.

  5. Discipline is about learning a new, widely accepted behavior, whereas punishment is about fearing the consequences of wrong actions.

  6. Discipline is a positive method of teaching or correcting behavior, but
    punishment considered as a negative method.

  7. Discipline focus on ‘What a child needs to do to improve behavior?’ Otherwise, Punishment associated with ‘What’s wrong with that kid?’

  8. Over time, discipline causes children to integrate rules and hold themselves accountable for their behavior. Otherwise,
    causes the child to need external control to behave in the right way in the long run.

  9. Discipline tends to increase children’s self-esteem, while Punishment often lowers the child’s self-esteem.

  10. Discipline encourage good behavior through open communication between children and parents and develop a close bond between them. Otherwise,
    Punishment develop retaliatory and rebellious behavior in children and also weaken their relationship.

Sample case

Budi (12 years old) sees a new laptop at his friend’s house. As he was amazed, he started to use it without his friend’s permission and while carrying him to the bed, he fell on the floor accidentally, thus breaking the screen. So, he ran away when his friend wasn’t around, but his friend’s mother saw him.

Now, in the case of Discipline:

His friend’s parents were able to talk to Budi about the incident in front of his parents and teach him that it is wrong to use other people’s property without permission. And also guides him that he should take care of other people’s personal belongings if he has borrowed them for use.

In addition, his friend’s parents can ask Budi to pay for the damage caused to his laptop, along with a written apology to his friend.

But in the case of Punishment:

A friend’s parent can tell their child to take Budi’s laptop or favorite item and break it so he understands how it feels.

Moreover, upon learning of the incident, Budi’s parents can tell him that they will not allow him to visit his friend’s house for the next year so that he will learn not to do the same thing again.

Conclusion: Everyone wants their children to learn good and right behavior, which helps them to become successful and responsible citizens of society. Discipline rests on socially and morally acceptable codes of behavior, but punishment depends on retaliation, both physical and mental.