Sunday Snippets #1 - Why Do Parents Punish Their Kids?

freebie newsletter punishment Jan 07, 2024

Happy New Year! I hope you managed to spend some quality time with your family, it was a busy one this end, but lots of happy memories were made which was lovely.

This year I'll be bringing you The Sunday Snippets, my weekly email that will be focused on positive and respectful parenting.

Today I'm going to focus on why some parents choose to punish their kids. There’s a huge misconception that to “discipline” our kids we need to be firm with them. But how much of that is down to what our kids need rather than what we’ve been taught or experienced ourselves? Respectful communication is one of the most important aspects of developing a healthy parent-child relationship. If our goal is to promote respect, problem solving and self-control, we need to ask ourselves “Is the way I discipline my child helping them to learn, develop and thrive?”

Last year, I connected with so many parents who punish their kids but are looking for another way. I released my free guide, Punishment-Free Parenting which has now been downloaded by over 25,000 parents all over the world. I also launched the Parenting Without Punishment Toolkit which includes a whole host of resources to help parents seek alternative parenting methods, methods that are focused on communication and connection.

Let's dive in and explore 5 ways parents might feel the need to punish their kids.

Stress and Coping Mechanisms

If you have high levels of stress in your life, whether it’s work, financial difficulties, or personal issues, this can contribute to harsh punishment. If you struggle with managing stress, then you may find it challenging to respond to your children in a calm and measured manner.

Unrealistic Expectations

I talk about this one a lot. If you have unrealistic expectations for your child's behaviour, it can often lead to frustration and disappointment, causing you to react harshly to force compliance. Try to ensure the expectations you set for your child are age-appropriate.

Cultural and Generational Patterns

If you were raised in a culture or generation that endorsed strict disciplinary measures, then you might believe that strict discipline is necessary for character development, and you may replicate the cycle you experienced in your upbringing.

Personal Trauma

The trauma from your upbringing can influence your parenting style, as you may lack alternative models for discipline and resort to the only methods you have experienced, despite the negative consequences.

Lack of Alternatives

If you lack adequate knowledge of effective discipline techniques or alternative methods, then you may resort to harsh punishment out of frustration or a sense of helplessness. Limited understanding of child development and age-appropriate expectations can contribute to an overreliance on punitive measures.

I hope these are a great starting point to help you self-reflect. Next week I'll be sharing some questions that can help you to move forward from using punishments with your kids. In the meantime, if you haven't already, feel free to grab my free guide below. When you download it, as well as the 22-page guide, I'll send you a link to the parenting without punishment worksheet and the audiobook.



💬 Quote of the week

This one is from Alfie Kohn, and if you haven't read it already, be sure to check out his book, Unconditional Parenting.

Children need to be loved as they are, and for who they are. When that happens, they can accept themselves as fundamentally good people, even when they screw up or fall short. And with this basic need met, they’re also freer to accept (and help) other people.




Cheers {{first_name}}, I hope to see you next week for another Sunday Snippets email.

Thanks again,


📖 Punishment-Free Parenting!

Get the FREE 23-page guide that explores how you can move away from traditional punishment-based parenting.

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