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What is Positive Punishment with Examples (Test Yourself)

positive punishment

Positive punishment is a type of influence on the other person that prevents him or her from doing undesirable actions. It’s related to Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning in positive punishment. Today we’ll try to understand what is positive punishment in psychology and how to connect it with effective parenting. 

It may seem a little bit confusing, but positive here means not a good thing. By saying it, one implies adding something (a punishment) as a consequence of a child’s behavior (usually unwanted). The aim is to create an interconnected chain: 

Here, the consequences are punishment. The kid knows that they’ll be grounded for bad behavior. Positive punishment can be both a useful tool and a reason for low self-esteem. So, be mindful when integrating it in your parenting. 

love is my superpower

How Does Positive Punishment Work?

Cause-effect relation occurs when a human being gains experience that follows his actions. He learns from this experience the same way when a person touches something hot and then moves his hand away because of pain. Next time, he`ll not touch a hot object. Positive punishment aims to create the same effect – to fight off the desire to commit some actions because of foreboding negative results. 

You, as a parent, make the consequence happen each time your kid oversteps the rules. It’s important to punish a child right after his actions. But, don’t be rude and cruel. A positive punisher mustn’t hurt his child’s feelings. Moms and dads ought to be discerning and fair instead. Especially dads because their attitude toward the kids is crucial for their self-perception and well-being. Dads, unlike moms, can be more strict and sound too demanding. They can easily offend children, even when they don`t mean to. Meanwhile, support from dads is very important for kids. Mind it. 

Positive Punishment vs. Negative Punishment

Now that we`ve made it clear what positive punishment is, let’s compare it to negative punishment. While the positive stands for adding something, the negative means taking something away. It also means reducing the number of rights to something. For example, an adult deprives his kid of candies as a consequence of his bad behavior. See, negative and positive punishments have the same aim – to prevent kids from doing bad things, but in different ways. 

Let’s take one more example, a child, who is shouting at his younger sibling. If you punish him by adding extra chores, it’s positive punishment. On the contrary, if you punish him by banning ice cream for three days, it’s negative punishment, because you take away his ability to enjoy it. Both methods are useful unless you:

  • act unfairly;
  • use too strict punishment for small disobedience;
  • apply it not immediately.

Be careful. From the example of disadvantaged Jamaican children, researchers prove that strict parenting can not only fail to correct the behavioral issues in kids but also trigger more severe misbehavior in the future. 

Positive Punishment Examples in Real Life

Positive punishment always has unpleasant consequences that are undesirable for kids. To avoid them, they need to control their own behavior. Here are some examples.

  • A child is mischievous while having a family dinner. Parents tell him that he has to clear the table as a punishment for his disobedience.
  • A kid forgets to do homework. His teacher gives him extra exercise for the next time.
  • A boy has deliberately scattered all the toys. Parents force him to put them away and clean the whole room.
  • A student hits his classmate, and a teacher gives him a time-out. 
  • A child swears at another kid. Mom makes him apologize and do some extra useful deeds such as washing the dishes or wiping the dust. 
  • A kid misbehaves, and his parents yell at him. (It’s not a good way, by the way). Researchers have found that yelling may be harmful and is as unpleasant as corporal punishment. Even if parents say they yell at children out of love, it’s not the way to explain love to kids

Advantages of Positive Punishment

Even though punishment always stands for something negative, it has prons as well. In psychology, it’s a way to discourage kids from committing undesirable actions. Positive punishment may involve just a mild conversation to pay attention to kids`  temper tantrums.

The benefits of positive punishment include the following ones:

  • Children know the boundaries they should not violate. Thus, they feel relaxed and confident knowing what’s acceptable and what isn’t;
  • Punishment provides children with the reason to behave well in the future. And you have to give them such an opportunity. When the punishment is over, one shouldn’t mention it (until the next case happens);
  • Kids get to know that all actions have consequences. They should predict them and be aware of the responsibility they`ll encounter when violating house rules. Plus, it makes them prepared for adult life, where citizens should obey the law to avoid more severe punishments. 

Disadvantages of Positive Punishment

  • Punishment prevents kids from doing something. But when it’s over, children may behave the same way untill you apply it one more time;
  • It may be perceived as an unfair punishment triggering aggression in strong-willed children. They can grow even more outrageous and resentful;
  • Positive punishment may cause fears and problems with self-esteem. For example, punishment for cutting into conversations. A kid may become indecisive and timid when the situation requires him to be persuasive and interrupt other people (as a rule, in adult life);
  • It’s not always clear for a child what to do instead of undesirable action. Kids may be confused even if for parents it’s obvious. One shoudn’t only punishe a kid, but also explains what he is supposed to do.  

It’s better to combine reinforcement and punishment to guide children. In such a way, they gain a more exact understanding of their own boundaries. Plus, it’s a kind of feedback on their actions: 

  • Good deeds – good consequences (praise, gift, etc); 
  • Bad deeds – bad consequences.

positive punishment

Which of the following is an Example of Positive Punishment?

Now that you have read a lot about positive punishment, try to guess which examples are the ones representing it. 

  • Your kid plays with toys at your friend’s home, but he also offends a cat that lives in that room. You forbid the child to enter the room with the cat although there are many toys there to play with. So, what kind of punishment is applied here? 

(Answer: It’s a negative type because you take away the opportunity to enjoy playing with new toys.)

  • Your kid breaks his friend’s pencil on purpose. You make him give the victim his own favorite pencil. And now? 

(Anwer: It’s an example of positive punishment because a child has to fulfill unpleasant action, which wasn’t meant until he`d broken the pencil.) 

  • A boy makes a wish to clean his desk but refuses to do it after some time. You make him fulfill the promise and clean his desk for the whole next week. 

(Answer: It’s also an example of positive punishment.)

Wrapping Up

The theory of operant conditioning (or cause-and-effect relationship) presupposes such a notion as positive punishment, which means creating unpleasant consequences as a response to inappropriate behavior. The main aim is to prevent kids from doing bad things. It’s possible due to the connection between action and consequence, which becomes clear to children. They realize that provided they break the rules, the negative consequences are inevitable. Therefore, they restrain from triggering the very process. 

Nevertheless, at the University of Central Florida, one supposes that one should weigh the necessity and possible negative effects when applying positive punishment. That`s about corporal punishment as a type of positive punishment. Thus, a 2016 review states that spanking can increase aggression in kids and boost antisocial patterns of behavior. Furthermore, 72% of adults reported in 2010`s nationwide poll that it`s Ok to apply corporal punishment. But that’s not! That’s terrible! What is positive punishment? It’s a tool to fix behavior problems, but not to increase them. 

To sum it up, be mindful and use positive punishment without causing harm to your kids.

Positive punishment is a type of influence on the other person that prevents him or her from doing undesirable actions. It’s related to Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning in positive punishment. Today we’ll try to understand what is positive punishment in psychology and how to connect it with effective parenting. 

It may seem a little bit confusing, but positive here means not a good thing. By saying it, one implies adding something (a punishment) as a consequence of a child’s behavior (usually unwanted). The aim is to create an interconnected chain: 

  • bad action – bad consequences; 
  • no bad action – no bad consequences.

Here, the consequences are punishment. The kid knows that they’ll be grounded for bad behavior. Positive punishment can be both a useful tool and a reason for low self-esteem. So, be mindful when intergrating it in your parenting. 

How Does Positive Punishment Work?

Cause-effect relation occurs when a human being gains experience that follows his actions. He learns from this experience the same way when a person touches something hot and then moves his hand away because of pain. Next time, he`ll not touch a hot object. Positive punishment aims to create the same effect – to fight off the desire to commit some actions because of foreboding negative results. 

You, as a parent, make the consequence happen each time your kid oversteps the rules. It’s important to punish a child right after his actions. But, don’t be rude and cruel. A positive punisher mustn’t hurt his child’s feelings. Moms and dads ought to be discerning and fair instead. Especially dads because their attitude toward the kids is crucial for their self-perception and well-being. Dads, unlike moms, can be more strict and sound too demanding. They can easily offend children, even when they don`t mean to. Meanwhile, support from dads is very important for kids. Mind it. 

Positive Punishment vs. Negative Punishment

Now that we`ve made it clear what positive punishment is, let’s compare it to negative punishment. While the positive stands for adding something, the negative means taking something away. It also means reducing the number of rights to something. For example, an adult deprives his kid of candies as a consequence of his bad behavior. See, negative and positive punishments have the same aim – to prevent kids from doing bad things, but in different ways. 

Let’s take one more example, a child, who is shouting at his younger sibling. If you punish him by adding extra chores, it’s positive punishment. On the contrary, if you punish him by banning ice cream for three days, it’s negative punishment, because you take away his ability to enjoy it. Both methods are useful unless you:

  • act unfairly;
  • use too strict punishment for small disobedience;
  • apply it not immediately.

Be careful. From the example of disadvantaged Jamaican children, researchers prove that strict parenting can not only fail to correct the behavioral issues in kids but also trigger more severe misbehavior in the future. 

Positive Punishment Examples in Real Life

Positive punishment always has unpleasant consequences that are undesirable for kids. To avoid them, they need to control their own behavior. Here are some examples.

  • A child is mischievous while having a family dinner. Parents tell him that he has to clear the table as a punishment for his disobedience.
  • A kid forgets to do homework. His teacher gives him extra exercise for the next time.
  • A boy has deliberately scattered all the toys. Parents force him to put them away and clean the whole room.
  • A student hits his classmate, and a teacher gives him a time-out. 
  • A child swears at another kid. Mom makes him apologize and do some extra useful deeds such as washing the dishes or wiping the dust. 
  • A kid misbehaves, and his parents yell at him. (It’s not a good way, by the way). Researchers have found that yelling may be harmful and is as unpleasant as corporal punishment. Even if parents say they yell at children out of love, it’s not the way to explain love to kids

Advantages of Positive Punishment

Even though punishment always stands for something negative, it has prons as well. In psychology, it’s a way to discourage kids from committing undesirable actions. Positive punishment may involve just a mild conversation to pay attention to kids`  temper tantrums.

The benefits of positive punishment include the following ones:

  • Children know the boundaries they should not violate. Thus, they feel relaxed and confident knowing what’s acceptable and what isn’t;
  • Punishment provides children with the reason to behave well in the future. And you have to give them such an opportunity. When the punishment is over, one shouldn’t mention it (until the next case happens);
  • Kids get to know that all actions have consequences. They should predict them and be aware of the responsibility they`ll encounter when violating house rules. Plus, it makes them prepared for adult life, where citizens should obey the law to avoid more severe punishments. 

Disadvantages of Positive Punishment

  • Punishment prevents kids from doing something. But when it’s over, children may behave the same way untill you apply it one more time;
  • It may be perceived as an unfair punishment triggering aggression in strong-willed children. They can grow even more outrageous and resentful;
  • Positive punishment may cause fears and problems with self-esteem. For example, punishment for cutting into conversations. A kid may become indecisive and timid when the situation requires him to be persuasive and interrupt other people (as a rule, in adult life);
  • It’s not always clear for a child what to do instead of undesirable action. Kids may be confused even if for parents it’s obvious. One shoudn’t only punishe a kid, but also explains what he is supposed to do.  

It’s better to combine reinforcement and punishment to guide children. In such a way, they gain a more exact understanding of their own boundaries. Plus, it’s a kind of feedback on their actions: 

  • Good deeds – good consequences (praise, gift, etc); 
  • Bad deeds – bad consequences.

Which of the following is an Example of Positive Punishment?

Now that you have read a lot about positive punishment, try to guess which examples are the ones representing it. 

  • Your kid plays with toys at your friend’s home, but he also offends a cat that lives in that room. You forbid the child to enter the room with the cat although there are many toys there to play with. So, what kind of punishment is applied here? 

(Answer: It’s a negative type because you take away the opportunity to enjoy playing with new toys.)

  • Your kid breaks his friend’s pencil on purpose. You make him give the victim his own favorite pencil. And now? 

(Anwer: It’s an example of positive punishment because a child has to fulfill unpleasant action, which wasn’t meant until he`d broken the pencil.) 

  • A boy makes a wish to clean his desk but refuses to do it after some time. You make him fulfill the promise and clean his desk for the whole next week. 

(Answer: It’s also an example of positive punishment.)

Wrapping Up

The theory of operant conditioning (or cause-and-effect relationship) presupposes such a notion as positive punishment, which means creating unpleasant consequences as a response to inappropriate behavior. The main aim is to prevent kids from doing bad things. It’s possible due to the connection between action and consequence, which becomes clear to children. They realize that provided they break the rules, the negative consequences are inevitable. Therefore, they restrain from triggering the very process. 

Nevertheless, at the University of Central Florida, one supposes that one should weigh the necessity and possible negative effects when applying positive punishment. That`s about corporal punishment as a type of positive punishment. Thus, a 2016 review states that spanking can increase aggression in kids and boost antisocial patterns of behavior. Furthermore, 72% of adults reported in 2010`s nationwide poll that it`s Ok to apply corporal punishment. But that’s not! That’s terrible! What is positive punishment? It’s a tool to fix behavior problems, but not to increase them. 

To sum it up, be mindful and use positive punishment without causing harm to your kids. 

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