The difference between punishment and discipline

The Difference Between Punishment And Discipline

Discipline and punishment are termed in the typical mindsets as two inseparable elements. Did you ever wonder about the difference between punishment and discipline, or could you determine with precise facts that both punishment and discipline belong to two diverse dimensions? 

Bingo! I discuss all the things you should know about punishment and discipline in this post today. It will include the main differences, consequences, examples, and types of techniques that you can use practically. 

This will be a comprehensive post that covers all the relevant information. Therefore, I have listed the topics I discuss below. Please, feel free to jump straight to the section you want by clicking on the topic.

Let’s get started!

What is punishment, and what is discipline?

Firstly and foremost, it is essential to identify the difference between punishment and discipline by adhering to their different dimensions.

What is punishment?

The general term of punishment can be referred to as a penalty act which is set upon a child to rectify their mistakes. It can be further noted down as a way of inflicting authoritative and controlling behavior of a child instead of instilling the quality of self-control in the child.

These punishments can vary from physical torture to mental torture. Calling names, hitting, marginalizing the rest of the community can be identified as the prime types of punishment. The pathetic side is that the punishments go along as a model of someone venting out the anger.

What is discipline?

The general term of discipline can be referred to as an effective methodology to mitigate unfavorable behaviors of the children through proper training concerning facing critical platforms such as anger arousing situations and challenging situations more successfully.

Even though there is some authoritative force is involved in the discipline process, a positive type of discipline may affect a healthy set of rules. Breaching those rules is considered a violation of discipline.

Is there a difference between punishment and discipline?

Yes, indeed, there is a difference between punishment and discipline. The significant difference between the two revolves around its sticky nature to the past.

The punishments are always stacked with past behavior. At the same time, the discipline does not have a strong bond with the past activities.

Even though both punishment and discipline showcase themselves as future brightening formats, the discipline especially encounters social development. In contrast, the punishment especially encounters societal fear and social timidity.

  • Suffering and adherence to a code of conduct or a set of rules

The difference between punishment and discipline can be traced from the two major elements of suffering and adherence to a code of conduct or a set of rules.

Children suffer both physically and mentally through punishments. Some leave the children with permanent life-lasting sufferings and phobic conditions.

The discipline that engages with the code of ethics shapes up a child’s life by enabling the child to view the world differently but positively by standing on the platform of an exemplary citizen.

  • Punishment tends to instill fear, whereas discipline tends to offer a self-learning experience.

Learning through experience is given by discipline, whereas punishment instills children with shaming and provoking others to make fun of the child or humiliate the child.

Is punishment good for a child?

There is a false belief that children should be punished for their mistakes or otherwise; they may turn into dark personalities in the future with negative attributes.

  • Incorrect identification of the parents about the difference

Most parents do not correctly distinguish the difference between punishment and discipline and tend to consider both as synonymously related concepts.

Furthermore, concerning the parents’ mindset, they always mistakenly take the actions done by the children out of curiosity as misbehaviors.

  • Punishments deals with unhealthy scenarios

Punishment directly deals with the human brain causing fear and anxiety under unhealthy scenarios. These minor traumas can turn into lifelong prevailing mental disorders among children.

It adversely affects primarily the mental growth and the thinking pattern development in children. Depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are some kinds of ill mental conditions that can be vastly visible among children.

  • Children being helpless in the face of punishments going through dark phases in their daily activities

Furthermore, children who are pretty helpless under the pressure of their caretakers or, in other words, their parents or their guardians, go through a life and death condition.

Children do not have enough strength or capability to voice against specific harsh punishments. Thus they are leaving behind silent victims. Furthermore, brain shrinkage conditions can worsen the learning processes of children.

In contrast, certain emotional disorders can permanently darken their future by pressurizing their small brains with utmost fear, danger, and other negative thoughts and feelings.

Examples of the difference between discipline and punishment

Whenever there is a provision of practical examples, there lies more reliability to the fact that it is subjected to discussion.

The difference between punishment and discipline is that universal theory applies without showcasing any discrimination. Let me be more open with you.

This condition happened with one of my cousins when he was around 8 years old. He was quite addicted to watching cartoons and watched each cartoon endlessly throughout the day. He turned a deaf ear to both his parents, and the parents were quite disappointed in him.

One day his father, my uncle, burst out with anger about this issue and cut the television wire. On the next day, my cousin did not come out of the room and stayed all day in it without having a morsel of food.

My grandma had an unexpected visit to my uncle’s place and noticed the situation. She called my cousin and asked him to read his favorite storybook with her. At first, he was hesitant to do so, but gradually he found it quite interesting.

My grandma asked my uncle to repair the TV, and both my grandma and the cousin watched his favorite cartoon together after that. She prepared a timetable for him and asked him to watch cartoons during the allocated time to watch TV.

From that day onwards, my cousin could gain good grades in his studies and during his spare time he watched TV by going along with the timetable.

From this simple incident, we can trace the difference between punishment and discipline. Aggressive punishment could not yield expected results, while tactful disciplinary action promoted positive outcomes abundantly.

Letting the child make mistakes and punishing after that is not better than leading the child to have a very systematic life at the initial stage itself.

What are the three types of discipline?

According to numerous studies, this factor of discipline is categorized into three types. Those three variations can be termed as preventive, supportive, and corrective, respectively.

Even though this trilogy focuses on improving the level of discipline, their core thematic elements and modes of activation differ from each other.

Preventive discipline

Preventive discipline firmly encounters motivation, and this enables the students to maintain their attention in a more concentrating manner without getting deviated to external factors, which ultimately causes the breaching of the discipline.

Funny and entertaining teaching and learning methods, converting the classroom atmosphere into a more nurturing place can be identified as successful implications of preventive discipline.

Supportive discipline

Supportive discipline is successfully woven around self-control. Focusing on the student’s work, providing constructive feedback are some distinguished activities with this type of discipline.

Corrective discipline

Corrective discipline is the category of discipline that is all about getting hand in hand with the problems of the children, not under a frustrating mood but brilliant moves.

Certain misbehaviors can be successfully mitigated through positive inquiry with the respective child by securing his privacy and by ensuring his privacy concerning the reasoning he provides concerning his misbehavior or ill-mannered activities.

Never panic, wondering how to implement those methods. You only need specific intelligent tools and techniques at hand to deal with this challenging circumstance with much confidence.

Motivate the kids, instill the idea of the value of positive behavior, develop the code of conduct by thoroughly understanding the kid’s nature. These are intelligent tools and techniques that may come in handy when imposing disciplinary behavior in children.

The ultimate difference between punishment and discipline

Without just jumping to the utmost end to the discussion, it is essential to identify the ultimate difference between punishment and discipline.

According to the method of shaping up the behavior

The punishments come along with pains, traumas, and fear. Discipline goes hand in hand with learning proper behavior through rules that do not cause any physical or mental mishap.

 According to the openness towards learning

The punishment does not open up any learning opportunity. Instead, it signals the brain to quench with utmost frightening ideologies.

The discipline that takes its path opposite to that entitles the child to learn a novel or new way of action or behavior by understanding the importance of positive behavior.


To shape up one’s behavior, what method should you choose? It is an obvious yes to the technique of instigating discipline without being engulfed in the methodology of punishment.

The real reason behind this is that no one wants their child to get prone to mental imbalances in their process of mitigating unhealthy behavior. The element of discipline act as the savior about this. So let’s give a shout-out with the meaningful final wording that punishment causes pain and discipline causes peace for both parties engaged in this.

Thank you for reading! If you find this article useful, stay tuned with Edu Nursery for more valuable content.

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