What is Fair Punishment?


Different parents administer punishment to their children in different ways. We are not going to judge and try to tell you which ways are right and which ways are wrong. What we are going to do is attempt to explain what parents do and why they do it.

Let’s start small. Usually, if the behavior is just losing your temper or getting a bit out of control, a time-out is sufficient punishment. This allows you time to relax, settle down, and think for a while about what happened. It is a learning time. You learn about yourself and your personality, while also learning what you need to do to prevent whatever it was that got you into trouble. A time-out may be served over to the side or in a corner, or it might be better if the child is in another room. There was a day when sending children to their bedroom for time-outs was a good idea, but some children now have a TV, video games, computer, and stereo in their room. So, most parents will choose a time-out place that is not a fun place to be.

Now, let’s say you fail to learn your lesson, and the same behavior happens again . . . and again. This is when you might suffer the loss of privileges. If your parents take away for a day or a week something that you enjoy, you might be a little more likely to stop doing the behavior that gets you into trouble than you were after the time out. Losing a privilege is a little more painful.

Okay, some of you are tough, so let’s talk about being grounded. This is your parents’ version of house arrest. You can’t go anywhere but to school and church. You might even be confined to your room, assuming that it isn’t a mini-arcade as described above. Usually, to be grounded, you either have to be really stubborn about doing what you want instead of what your parents want, or you have to have done something really bad.

Most parents try to be fair when deciding on the best punishment. They have to consider your age, how often the wrong behavior happens, and how bad it was. In any case, they are trying to teach you proper discipline. In other words, they are trying to train you to do the right things on your own, without them having to remind you or correct you. Most importantly, they do it because they love you.

The Bible has a lot of information about discipline, as well as examples of the punishment people received throughout history. God wants you to do the right thing, and He has given parents the job of teaching you to do the right thing. God loves you very much because He created you. You have a purpose that He created you for, so it is very important to learn to do the right things.

Still, all people, not just children, struggle with this. But, there is good news. To learn about it, go to the menu on the left side of this page, click on "About God," then click on "Who is Jesus?"

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