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Peace and Punishment

There is a negative relationship between peace and punishment. My experience of over 23 years with small children ranging from the age of 3 to 8 plus shows that punishment has no real deterrent effect. Children continue to behave naturally. If some of their actions are disciplined, there are quite a few others which are full of mis-behaviour and misdemeanour.

The question before pedagogues is how to deal with mischievous and delinquent behavior. Does punishment help or on the contrary it creates undesirable effects. My first hand knowledge about small children confirms the view that punishment is only a fleeting remedy. It does not produce a lasting result which is necessary to reform them. In fact, it robs them of their overall peaceful state of the body and the mind. A punished child becomes sad, depressed, restless, tense, diffident, timid, escapist, demotivated, disinclined, disgusted and all that which creates repulsion both for the teacher and the school. Scholastic and non-scholastic performance of such children also declines. Not only this, they may also develop pretended or genuine physical and mental disorders.

Children are not knowledgeable like adults. They do not know the difference between the right and the wrong acts of school or social life. They have yet to learn the deeper implications of discipline. Their actions are spontaneous. Their anger, aggressive behavior and temper tantrums, too, are unpremeditated. They act on the spur of the moment; and more often than not, regret their

offensive acts of indiscipline. Sometimes, they immediately feel repentant and seek instant pardon.

The best way is to treat delinquent children as peacefully as possible, and make them realise how their errant behavior was unacceptable. In other words, they need to be delivered from the ignorance which led them to indulge in culpable behavior. In the cases of bullying behavior at school, counseling acts better than punishment. Punishment creates fear and disrespect. It causes pain but does not restore healthy behavior.

To be more precise, more than punishment, it is forgiveness which yields the expected results. It is a reliable maxim that grudges are heavy; forgiveness lightens the load.

With ban on corporal punishment, teachers must become patient, tolerant, generous and self-restrained. They should become utterly peaceful and un-irritable.