The definition of discipline as a noun is: the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, and to teach self –control and self-discipline. Other words to describe discipline are training, teaching, direction, instruction, regulation, coach.
The definition of punishment as a noun is: to inflict an imposition of a penalty as a retribution for an offense, to cause someone to suffer for a crime or fault. Other words to describe punishment are pain, penalty, deprivation, rough treatment, sanction, maltreatment, abuse.

Recently on Facebook on a parenting group page, there was a post about a young ….no age given…….child had drawn on the television with crayons. The mother asked should she ‘smack the child?’ She said she wasn’t sure since it had happened over an hour before she had actually noticed it. She had doubts as to whether or not the child would understand why she was being smacked! This is why I say this was a young child! On the other hand, this woman admitted her husband was going to come home and yell at her, blame her for the child drawing on the T.V. with crayon. How many of you at this point are saying…..WHAT? I know I was. That’s a whole other blog!

I gave my response to the post by saying please don’t smack her, that’s not the answer. Teach her where she is allowed to draw and put the crayons away unless you supervise her. By smacking her you are just teaching her that it is ok for her to go around smacking others, especially those smaller than her. It is illegal in some countries to hit a child at all.
I don’t know where this particular mother lives but in Canada I know that it is illegal to hit a child anywhere on their body if they are 2 years or under, 13 years or above. It is illegal to hit them with an item, an open palm, a punch, it’s illegal period! It is also illegal to hit a child age 3 to 12 and leave a mark on them. Most people are not aware of this.

Illegal or not, I know this issue is always up for debate and is the cause of many arguments between parents and caregivers. It is a challenge that comes up when parents are not on the same page. My generation was hit, boy were we hit. I don’t just mean a slap here and there. At school I remember getting the ruler across my knuckles or across the back of my knees for talking when I wasn’t supposed to. Then in high school I got 6 of the strap on the palms of my hands for making a comment which the teacher misheard. 6 whacks was the most you could get, thankfully it was my one and only time. I wasn’t a child who needed “punishment.” In my eyes punishment was exactly what I got if I fought with my siblings I got hit, hard! If I spoke back, I got hit, hard! It wasn’t just the hard hitting it was the words that came with it. I got a hit with every word almost. The hitting was bad enough but the words were humiliating and belittling. I don’t remember the pain from the smacks or the objects used but I do remember the words and the pain from them. It took me years to get over feeling stupid and worthless. I get it was a different time back then, but I vowed I would not raise my kids like I was raised. I have two terrific teens I am raising by teaching, explaining, logical consequences, leading by example, building their esteem and confidence, allowing them to make mistakes but not smacking, humiliating or belittling them. They are respectful, compassionate; appreciative and helpful. They are amazing athletes and honor role students every year. I believe this has to do with how they were raised. They have been through adversity more than they should have been at their age, but they are strong and resilient and I put this down to me being an honest, supportive, caring parent. So as you decide how to raise your kids ask yourself how you would prefer to be treated. Would you choose to be punished or disciplined?

Author's Bio: 

I am a Law of Attraction Life Coach and a Counselor

I have many years of experience working with children and parents in the Children’s Aid facilitating the PRIDE course. I have worked in a group home setting and school setting. My experience covers facilitating peer groups of school age children, a peer support group of pregnant teens. Many years of my experience has been working with special needs kids, with mild intellectual delays to many variations of the Autism spectrum. I am the proud, sole parent of 2 terrific teens.

I help families become happier and healthier by empowering and teaching parents and children better communication skills, positive parenting strategies and the importance of healthy lifestyle choices.