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Free Example of Controlling Undesirable Behaviors Essay

In the traditional society, parents discourage undesirable behaviors of children through punishments. Children who got involved in misconducts or misbehaviors would be punished by their parents or any other responsible adult. Most people advocate for punishments of children upon wrongdoings, hence the adoption of the saying “Spare the rod and spoil the child”.

Debates Regarding Punishment of Children

However, in the modern society, punishment of children has raised debates in many communities. Parents, teachers, guardians and government officers have been involved in harsh debates on whether or not children should be punished for their wrongdoings or mischief. Whereas parents prefer their children not to be punished, most teachers advocate for child punishment as a way of instilling discipline in children. Some parents also exercise unquestioned authority and strictness towards their children.

In my opinion, children may be disciplined through light punishments that may not hurt or harm them. The form of punishment imposed on any child should not be severe. Additionally, punishment of children should vary according to their ages, for example, young children should be given more guidance than punishments. This is because they do not have fully developed minds that will enable them to make coherent or rational decisions. Adolescents and young adults may not be punished but rather be allowed to face the consequences of their misbehaviors. Larzelere (2011) states that physical punishments such as striking or slapping are only appropriate when applied by the parents. He further argues that punishment can only be effective when it is used consistently every time the undesirable behavior is done. For a punishment to be effective, it should be seen as fair by the wrongdoer. According to Larzelere (2011), most punishments often result into negative consequences such as repulsive behaviors, hatred and enmity as well as children running away from home.

Personally, I have been punished repeatedly for various reasons such as unfinished homework, dirtying clothes, cheating, lying and stealing money for domestic use. From my experiences, I would argue that punishments helped me change my behaviors. It enabled me to differentiate evil from good and right from wrong.

Alternatives to Punishment for Diminishing Undesirable Behavior

In my opinion, undesirable behaviors can also be diminished through rewarding and praising good behaviors. Rewarding involves giving gifts to a child who behaves well so as to encourage imitation by other children. Similarly, good behaviors may be praised while undesirable behaviors may be strongly rebuked and condemned. This should not involve physical punishments. Stein (2011) refers to the act of rewarding desirable behaviors as positive reinforcement.

Another method of diminishing undesirable behaviors is through setting clear rules, regulations and restrictions. Such rules must be clearly stated and well communicated to the target audience or children. Such rules may be written or provided verbally. Moreover, undesirable behaviors may be diminished through setting good examples as a role model to the children. Adults should depict behaviors that are desirable so as to encourage imitation by young children. Undesirable behaviors may also be diminished through warning and precautions. Individuals should be warned against involvement in misbehaviors.

In my opinion, it is important to focus the punishment on the behavior and not the individual. This implies that if the undesirable behavior is not withdrawn after repeated punishments, then a more effective method of punishment should be devised. Punishment should not be provided under the influence of anger. This would result into punitive punishments that may not correct the undesirable behavior but rather harm the offender.

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Individuals who offend other people may be fined or denied access to certain privileges as a way of discouraging their misconducts. Another way of discouraging misbehaviors is allowing offenders to take responsibility of their actions, for example, a teenager who sneaks out with a car and gets an accident may be denied access to the car and be forced to help in repairing the damaged car.

Finally, desirable behaviors may be instilled in children through continued teachings on morals. This involves guidance and counseling the affected individual and proposing various ways of modifying the undesired behavior.

In conclusion, it is worth noting that punishments can only be used to discourage unwanted behaviors if they are self-enhancing. In addition, punishments should be non-judgmental or discriminative in nature. All people with similar offences should be punished equally. While providing punishments to children, parents, guardians or teachers should avoid overreacting as this may lead to retaliation. Severe punishments may result into negative consequences such as poor self image, lack of confidence, low self esteem, rebellious behaviors, aggression, strong dislike and anger. Thus, punishments must be used appropriately and moderately. Children should not be punished but rather disciplined.

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