American Psychological Association

ACT home

Discipline and Punishment

Discipline is based on the idea that children will do better if they feel better. The purpose is to teach children
positive behaviors for each age. It helps children:

  • calm down
  • learn to solve problems
  • learn to manage their anger
  • learn to self-control their emotions
  • learn what behavior is expected of them

Punishment is based on the idea that children need to feel worse or feel pain, shame, or humiliation to learn how to behave. Punishment:

  • Controls behavior through power and fear.
  • Teaches children to hide or lie about mistakes and misbehaviors.
  • Focus is on the negative behavior.
  • Teaches children to behave in a certain way to avoid a negative consequence or get a bribe.