When we talk about discipline, we usually refer to the efforts by parents and teachers to reduce or eliminate annoying or inappropriate child behaviors. Punishment is designed to suppress or reduce behavior and may appear like the perfect match for these goals. The term “discipline” includes the notions of instruction but also of punishment.
Search for parenting books on Amazon.com, and you get tens of thousands of titles, leaving new parents awash in a sea of often conflicting information. But thanks to the accumulated results of decades of empirical research, psychologists know more than ever before about what successful parenting really is.
Corporal punishment of children has long been a topic of controversy in the United States. According to some studies, more than half of all U.S. parents condone spanking as a regular form of punishment for small children.
Deciding how to discipline a child can be one of the hardest parts of being a parent. Even parents of generally well-behaved children can find themselves at a loss when trying to discipline a defiant toddler or a surly teenager. In this episode, psychologist Alan Kazdin, PhD, discusses corporal punishment and the most effective techniques for getting the behavior parents want.