071: Why Punishing Your Kids is Bad Parenting

Picture of hosted by Penny Williams

hosted by Penny Williams

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Our culture says that parents should be authoritarian and have control over their children. I call BS.  Authoritarian parenting and trying to control behavior with punishment and fear is bad parenting. I explain why that's bad parenting, and outline a better way in this episode . We should be parenting individuals and celebrating individuality, not pushing for conformity. There is room for positive parenting and teaching your values. Let's talk about how.


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Raising Human Beings, by Ross Greene, Ph.D.

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If you enjoyed this episode, please share it. Have something to say, or a question to ask? Leave a comment below. I promise to answer every single one. **Also, please leave an honest review for the Beautifully Complex Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and appreciated! That's what helps me reach and help more families like yours.

I'm Penny Williams.

I help stuck and struggling parents (educators, too) make the pivots necessary to unlock success and joy for neurodivergent kids and teens, themselves, and their families. I'm honored to be part of your journey!

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About the show...

I'm your host, Penny.

Join me as I help parents, caregivers, and educators like you harness the realization that we are all beautifully complex and marvelously imperfect. Each week I deliver insights and actionable strategies on parenting neurodivergent kids — those with ADHD, autism, anxiety, learning disabilities…

My approach to decoding behavior while honoring neurodiversity and parenting the individual child you have will provide you with the tools to help you understand and transform behavior, reduce your own stress, increase parenting confidence, and create the joyful family life you crave. I am honored to have helped thousands of families worldwide to help their kids feel good so they can do good.

Listen on Apple Podcasts  |  Google Podcasts  |  Spotify  |  iHeart Radio

Share your thoughts.

  • Thank you so much! That was so incredibly helpful. I was crying throughout the podcast because I feel like I needed to hear this today. My husband and I are also listening to the Explosive child but this was a nice summary. Sometimes I feel like an explosive adult raising an explosive 3.5 year old daughter. It is beyond difficult to keep my cool when she is melting down, yelling, etc. especially on those days when it seems like it happens every 5 minutes. But it makes so much sense that if she sees me losing my cool, yelling or throwing something she is going to think that is how to react when she is frustrated about something. I have so much work to do but feel very empowered today to help my daughter and our family. I look forward to listening to more of your podcasts!

    • That's so awesome Jessica! So glad the message was just what you needed right now. Think too about the fact that our kids attune to us. They take on the energy that we're giving out, whether that's frustrated and angry, or calm. 😉

  • Great podcast – very helpful! I wish I could bring this message into the classrooms. It seems they think by doling out warnings, using tasks (helping to clean up classroom) as a consequence, and shortening up recess will get the students to “listen”. My son is struggling now in third grade because they don’t look beyond the behavior to understand what is driving it. In my son’s case, he’s frustrated and anxious, and one of the paras is not a good fit. Thanks Penny!

    • Sounds like they're ” behavior traditionalists.” You could certainly recommend to teachers to listen, but that suggestion may or may not be heeded. 😉

      I would request a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA). This is a systematic approach to considering the reasons for behavior and identifying some strategies to change the behavior. This is done during a meeting lead by a behavior specialist, then there are regular followups to see what's helping and what adjustments are needed. I found it very helpful for classroom teachers (this meeting) because it helped them to start thinking about behaviors in this way.

  • My grandson is a high functioning, brilliant 7 year old with Autism diagnosis. He gets jealous of his 5 year old sister and sometimes acts out with physical punches and verbal nastiness. As much as my daughter loves and positively parents both, she is justifiably concerned for the safety of her daughter. Similar outbursts have caused her son difficulty staying in schools.

    What strategies work to curtail this behavior?

    • It all comes down to the WHY, and then addressing it. Why is he hitting? Why is he verbally nasty? At his age, he very likely has poor frustration tolerance, and poor emotional awareness and regulation. He simply doesn't know how to manage his emotions so they're communicated more primally. A good Occupational Therapist can work on the emotional awareness and regulation, and frustration tolerance too. Our OT used the Zones of Regulation program which we continued with a home. It helped a great deal. Also, when my son was about the same age, he began hitting his classmates. Here's what I did to change that behavior: https://www.additudemag.com/behavior-modification-helped-child-stop-hitting-at-school/.

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