All parents have a desire to have well educated, well mannered and well placed children. This requires proper training from the day the child learns to understand. There are various ways of dealing with a child who does not behave well or is not serious with studies. Punishment is one of the ways of training a child. It should be understood that punishment is not the only way to discipline a child, praising or reinforcement is a better way. Remember that over punishment and over praise can both have negative effect.
Punishment can be using harsh words, or boycotting the child or corporal punishment. At one time it was thought that the last option is best. With change of time there is change in thinking, corporal punishment is losing its importance. If a child does not do the task assigned to him properly he needs punishment as it will have long lasting effect on him. However expressing dissatisfaction at his behaviour for not having done well in exam will also have remedial effect.
We take an example of a child who has not fared well in his exam, having obtained a poor score in a particular paper. The option with the parents will be to punish the child or use a way of reinforcement. Punishment may be necessary if, even earlier having not done well, the child does not put in an effort to improve. The other way can be threatening to stop his pocket money if next time he does not improve. This will put unnecessary pressure on the child and he may not be able to perform due to pressure.
Depending upon the nature of child, behavioural method of reforming the child will be effective. The child can be praised for having done better and telling the child that in future the amount of pocket money will depend upon the grade. However the best will be to confide in the child and explain to him that as a result of his obtaining poor marks not only his, but also the respect of the parents, has suffered in society. In future if the child does well they will command better respect and status. The child should be told that those children who get good marks command respect in school, and not only parents, but even teachers feel proud of them. This way in all probabilities the child will put in all efforts to do well in future.
Thus it can be concluded that reinforcement is always a better option and punishment should be the last resort.