Self-Esteem Tips For Boys: Punishment Without Humiliation

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There are effective and ineffective ways to show boys how to manage their behavior. When people use humiliating punishments, it rarely works.

For punishment to work well as a learning device, it should relate directly to the outcome, and not cause anger, bitterness or other bad feelings; in other words, it should be fair and leave a child’s self-respect intact.


If you are a parent:

* If you use punishments, try to be clear, fair, consistent, brief, loving and sensitive to their effects
* Deal with only one behavior at a time – don’t pile on the complaints
* Punish the act and not the person
* Alternatives to smacking include: withdrawal of privileges; restricted use of a favorite toy or pastime; withdrawal of pocket money; use of a cooling-off place; a verbal telling-off; and sending to bed early


If you are a teacher:

* Always give due warning of any punishment you may give
* If your school does not have a behavior policy, ask for one to be developed which contains clear and graded consequences for clearly defined behavior
* Don’t up the ante if boys challenge you or feign indifference
* Ensure the punishment fits the crime
* Avoid taking challenges personally; when that happens, punishments become personal too


Any punishment which is designed to humiliate a boy will be felt as an attack on his person, not his behavior, and will be counterproductive. Punishments which humiliate cause shame, guilt, self-doubt and ultimately self-hate. They lead to resentment, antagonism and hostility. Boys are not tougher than girls. To protect himself, a boy will ultimately cut himself off from the relationship and become uncooperative. Every put-down brings its own repercussions.


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