Difference Between Discipline and Punishment

Discipline vs Punishment


The idea of Discipline and Punishment can appear similar, even though, there are differences between the two words. Much of human behavior in modern societies is a result of discipline and punishment. If you do not believe me, just imagine a gross section or red light where people can move in any direction without any fear of punishment. In no time at all, all vehicles will try to go wherever their drivers want to take them with the result that there will be utter chaos and even accidents resulting in the destruction of lives and properties. Even in a classroom, kids are disciplined as long as their teacher is present, and you soon see an unruly class after the teacher has left the classroom. If you do not punish your dog for barking at your friends, he will never learn how to behave. And if you do not show discipline and throw clothes around, soon your room will become unmanageable for you. It is thus clear that discipline and punishment are closely related terms though not interchangeable. This article tries to highlight the differences between discipline and punishment to make their correct use in real life situations.

What is Discipline?

Whether for a dog, a kid or an adult, punishment is used as a tool to teach discipline. However, there can be positive reinforcement or the lack of it that can be used to teach discipline, and it is not necessary to make use of punishment all the time to teach an important lesson. You can give your puppy his favorite food item when he is getting his toilet training when he urinates at the designated place, but withhold this prize if he urinates at an improper place. Soon he will realize his mistake and follow the right behavior. Discipline teaches children self-control, and they also learn skills that match their age group and mental level. However, punishment only means hurting the child to make him learn the fear of punishment. In the case of discipline, an adult is controlling the actions of another adult or children though the needs; wishes and abilities of others respected. Discipline makes people feel good about them as they learn to control themselves and also learn new skills on their own. Though the motive behind punishment is also to make others learn or unlearn, punishment works only as long as there is fear in the minds of students or kids.

Difference Between Discipline and Punishment- Discipline

What is Punishment?

Punishment means using force, physical mostly, or even reprimand or admonishment to disapprove of actions of an individual in anticipation that he will refrain from his act because of fear of punishment. In any society, rules and regulations are made so that people observe them, and there is order all the time. To make people follow the laws, there are provisions for punishment in the form, of financial penalties and prison sentences. These are meant to deter individuals from indulging in behaviors that are against the norms and thus, not acceptable to the society. Despite these punishments, there have been, and there will always be people flouting these norms, which clearly show that punishment alone is not the solution when one wants others to behave in a particular manner. Encouragement and even rewards are sometimes required to make an individual learn. When a teacher pats the back of a child in front of the class, he or she is obviously elated at being applauded in front of other students and tries to do what pleases the teacher. When parents are away for a long time from the home, and if kids have behaved admirably in their absence, they must reward kids for their good behavior.

Difference Between Discipline and Punishment- Punishment

What is the Difference Between Discipline and Punishment?

• Punishment is a part of the process called discipline. It is used as a tool to teach discipline.
• Punishment only tells other what is bad and should be avoided.
• Positive reinforcement is another part of the discipline that encourages people to indulge in acceptable behaviors.
• Sometimes the punishment is the only form of deterrence.

Image Courtesy:

1.”Skamvrån av Carl Larsson 1894″ by Carl Larsson  [Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons

2.”Bundesarchiv Bild 183-R79742, Erziehungsmethode” by Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-R79742 [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons