Here is Bings definition of Kind:
Definition of kind
[ kīnd ]
- compassionate: having a generous warm compassionate nature
- generous: showing generosity or compassion
- agreeable or safe: not harsh, unpleasant, or likely to have destructive effects
Some might argue that it is kind to punish. They say that they are teaching their children valuable life lessons when they punish. I do not agree with this line of reasoning for two reasons. One, I think that we are fooling ourselves when we classify punishment as "kind" in this way. If something doesn't FEEL kind, then it's not. Children are not experiencing punishment as kindness even if parents try to convince themselves it is necessary. And second, I believe that often the "lessons" children are learning are not the same ones that parents are attempting to "teach" when punishing. When we don't feel good our brains are not receptive to learning. When we feel disconnected from loved ones that is all that we can focus on. If children are expressing (or worse, feeling but repressing the expression of) hurt, anger, or resentment they CANNOT focus on anything else - including the "why" of the punishment and what the parent hopes they learn.
2) Our family relationships are not supported by punishment. Punishment fosters disconnection. This is the opposite of what I want in our family. When we are connected everything else flows. I am convinced that connection is at the core of all things good in life. Pursue connection and your life will transform.
3) My goals are not effectively achieved with punishment (aka Punishment does not work.)
I know many will argue this point and some may want "proof" of my assertion. First you need to identify what your goals are. If your goals are obedience, "training", changing behaviors, or compliance - then punishment may work for you. My goals however are connected relationships, open, honest communication, learning to live peacefully together and with others, and kindness internalized. I see more clearly all the time how these are NOT supported by punishment.
Again, I want to reiterate that none of us are perfect. That is why I find it significant that these two cycles are connected. But the good news is that we can choose to jump on or off whichever side we want to when we are ready!
Also, living without punishment does not mean ill-behaved, inconsiderate, children who can do whatever they want. We are so used to living with punishment that we are unable to imagine life without it or what it might look like. Sometimes the best way to see is to start living it, today. It takes time but it is worth it. And once you feel the difference you won't want to go back.