punishment creates bullies and victims

Punishment is not the same as discipline.  In fact, if  we actively avoid it and choose instead to discipline our children we could reduce the occurrences of bullying. 

It is interesting to note that studies of the background of bullies and their most vulnerable victims have found that physical punishment is prevalent for both.

Discipline VS Punishment

Punishing teaches him:

  •  to be "sneakier" about the bullying. He will be more aggressive and hurtful but make sure it is "under the radar" of adults. 

 Makes her feel:

  • Degraded and unworthy
  • Humiliated, ashamed
  • Dis-respected. Would you like your boss to talk to you or "punish" you the way you are punishing your child. 

If we model respect and want our children to be respectful we cannot continue to punish them. 

The  "Who did it?" and a"make them pay" mentality voids the lessons that could be learned. 

You know you are on the wrong track when you are doing it "TO" your child and not "WITH" your child.

The worst part is it strains our relationship with our children. Instead of building trust, mutual respect and confidence in each other we are creating vulnerability.


If you hear yourself saying:

  • Isolation: "If you do "ABC" again you will have to spend the rest of your day in your room"
  • Embarrassment/Humiliation: "Even a two year old knows better. I will treat you like a 2 year old. Go get a diaper."
  • Labelling: "You are lazy, mean, a bully"
  • Shaming: " Shame on you for hurting him"
  • Emotional isolation: " don't come to me for a hug after what you have done"
  • Grounding: Taking away TV, phone or teckie gismo until they change their behaviour with no direction how they might do what you are asking.
  • Sarcasm: "Even the dog knows better"
  • Just plain mean: "no child of mine would behave like that" 

Any of that sound familiar?? After what you have read about verbal bullying and social bullying...Now what do you think??  Sounds an awful lot like bullying.

If so, it could be you are just repeating what you heard as a child...perhaps you were advised by a good friend and it worked for their kids. 

Now that you know different you can start making changes and do differently.

This is not about blame. It is not your fault. We must remember we are all doing the best we can with what we know.

We can't swing the other way and just let our children do whatever they want. As Dr Phil has been known to say "that is the tail wagging the dog" ;)

Your child is fully responsible for their actions and as a caring parent you must put into place discipline for the inevitable mistakes, mis-steps and total bloopers that your children will for certain make. 


There is a better way. As parents our job is to guide them and provide them with boundaries to keep them safe and help them grow into  successful adults. 

Discipline allows them to take responsibility for their actions, learn to prevent it from happening next time and create a plan to make amends to  anyone who was impacted.

We will need to adapt our language and learn some new ways to direct our children. They learned to be a bully or a victim...they can un-learn too.

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More Suggested reading:

restorative discipline as an option

read about an alternative to punishment

bullying solutions

Bullying>Parenting Advice>Punishment

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