Parenting, how do I do it right?

Parenting is not easy. It is a complicated process with all kinds of different aspects. When raising children, you influence desired and undesirable behavior. You want to learn and/or maintain the desired behavior and unlearn the unwanted behavior through punishment and reward. Biological, sociological and psychological factors play a role in influencing human behavior.

To raise

Parenting always starts with a requirement, some kind of desired situation. When making this requirement, it is important to find a good balance. Demanding too much or too little from children is counterproductive. What is especially important here is that there is clarity and that there are rules. Children have a need for structure.

When you make demands on children, it is important that you take their needs into account. This includes the need for independence, appreciation, safety and bonding, love and attention.

To punish

Punishment is done with the intention of stopping the unwanted behavior. You can administer something unpleasant or take away something pleasant. This includes social, physical and activity punishments.

Punishment has several disadvantages that become even greater if the punishment is imposed thoughtlessly. Children usually want to explain their unwanted behavior and, above all, make amends for it. Despite the disadvantages such as: negative relationship, fear/fear of failure, bad example , negative attention, etc., it is true that punishment often works well.

Conditions of good punishment

  • Clarity about unwanted behavior and punishment in response.
  • Punishments that also have the meaning of a punishment.
  • Be consistent in punishment.
  • Also be realistic. For example, ‘just move’ is not realistic.
  • Punish in a mild manner. Punishment is unpleasant and at the same time a source of information.
  • The content of the punishment must be meaningfully linked to the undesirable behavior.
  • Punish quickly and directly, then the effect will be greatest.
  • Variety in punishments.
  • A punishment always has an end!


Don’t punish

There are two ways to not punish. You cannot reward unwanted behavior, for example by not responding. Or to reward the desired behavior.
By not responding to unwanted behavior you are not paying attention to the child. In this way, the goal, for example to attract attention, is not achieved. This is not easy, but it is important. At other times, distraction or calming is a suitable way to avoid rewarding unwanted behavior. Then you pay attention, but you don’t punish. It is therefore better to ignore unimportant undesirable behavior rather than punish it.

The following components are important for teaching children new behavior : rewarding in small steps, demonstrating, instructing and breaking down behavior into components. It is important that you continue to reward attempts at desired behavior.


Rewarding is actually nothing more than paying attention to good behavior. That’s not the same as spoiling. There are three different types of rewards:

  1. Material rewards: tangible things, such as: sticker, gift, money, etc.
  2. Activity rewards: something you do together with the child that strengthens the feeling together, such as watching a movie, going on an outing, and so on.
  3. Social rewards are the most important, such as: pat on the back, compliment, wink.


7 points of attention for a good reward

  1. You must do what you promise, so don’t delay.
  2. Don’t always reward.
  3. Be surprising, this has a greater value than a predictable reward.
  4. Closely matches the behavior.
  5. Choose a reward that has meaning for the student (also choose together).
  6. Better reward often than big.
  7. Reducing punishment is also a reward.

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