The divine messages revealed in the course of history have certain constant and immutable characteristics: to warn (the unbelievers) and to announce the good news (to the believers); encouragement and deterrence; and reward and punishment. It is because the result of the actions – be it prosperity or misery; to be in paradise or hell – is the ultimate goal of venerating Allah the Almighty.
Allah Almighty has created humans so that they are ready to accept reform through the methodology of reward and punishment. Children can be easily modeled and the person who cares for them during childhood is one who shapes the characteristics and traits of their personality. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: ~ “Every child is born in the state of Fitrah (innate sound predisposition, which means Islam), then his parents make him Jewish, Christian or magian”.
The young child has the ability to do both what is right and what is wrong, but he may not know the difference between them. Therefore, reward and punishment methodology is one of the most important ways to achieve good education. The purpose of this methodology is to teach the child to do what is right and to avoid what is wrong in order to motivate him / her to do what is right, while avoiding what is wrong and conforming these guidelines.
However, for this methodology to be successful, many restrictions must be respected to reward the child for a good action or to punish him for a fault. The most important restrictions include punishing children at the right time and the most important aspects of this justice are:
1. Do not punish a single child and let other guilty children run away, as this makes the child confused about the true concept of justice.
2. Punishment should not be imposed if the child is innocent. This requires being careful and making sure that the mistake was made by the child and not by others. Many children use defensive lies or retaliation, and they can tell persuasive stories that others may be punished instead of them simply because they are older or have a greater ability to respond. ‘expression. When an innocent child is punished, he feels oppressed, with disastrous consequences for the psychology and the future of the child. Thus, the simplest right of the oppressed child is to apologize to him so that we can eliminate the effects of oppression and teach him to admit an error.
3. Children should not be punished for behavior they have committed in error, forgetfulness or duress.
By his mercy for his slaves, Allah, the Almighty, forgives them if they forget something, do it by mistake or because they have been forced to do it. The Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: ~ “Allah, the Almighty, has forgiven my Ummah (nation) for what they have done by mistake, by forgetting and being forced to do so.” for example, children might forget what they were asked to do; spilling a dish by mistake and spilling food; or hurry to look for a dish for the mother, but they may not be able to wear it so that it falls and is broken. Allah Almighty forgive adults in such cases, so how can we punish children who have not yet reached the age of puberty and discernment?
4. Children should not be punished for an error that hurt and hurt them. Indeed, pain is a way of disciplining it and that is enough. There is no need to blame him for this, because it adds to his pain – especially if he has lost something personal, such as a broken toy, or if he has been hurt for touching a pot. It is acceptable to explain to him that the reason for what happened is that he did not listen to our instructions and warnings and that he must bear the consequences of his actions. However, if he suffers a lot, we should postpone this explanation.
5. Children should not be punished for their natural activity. Moving and being active is one of the characteristics of childhood, a proof of one’s health and natural growth. It is not right to punish the child for this reason or restrict his movements, but we can guide him and control his behavior.
6. Children should not be punished for problems they can not control.
It is not fair to punish a child because he has psychological problems such as fear or jealousy, or if his mental abilities are below average and his level at school is not good. In such cases, punishment complicates the problem and can lead to other psychological problems.
7. Children should not be punished or the punishment should be mitigated if they admit their mistake. Insist on getting a punishment despite the fact that the child has acknowledged that his mistake will lead him to avoid admitting any mistakes he may make afterwards.
8. The punishment should be appropriate. Children should not be punished severely for a small mistake or go unpunished when they make a serious mistake.
9. Children should not be punished when they make a mistake for the first time. Children do not know the effects of their actions because of their limited experience. We should only punish them when they repeat the error. We should try to reform them with reward methodology, then punishment, while directing them to what is right and the preferred, alternative behavior pattern.
10. Are excuses an alternative to punishment?
We should teach children to apologize and encourage them to do so because excuses are an important factor in the methodology of punishment. However, it comes into play after inflicting a punishment and not before. Indeed, an important part of conveying the moral message behind punishment is to apologize.
The child should understand the reason for the punishment and apologize should be the practical expression that indicates the child understands the message. Apologizing means that the child recognizes his mistake and that is why he apologizes after paying the price for this mistake – and that can not happen if he apologizes before being punished. If he apologizes before being punished, threatening to be punished would be in vain and he would make the same mistake again.
Finally, it should be remembered that children generally live under the authority of adults and that is why they attach great importance to justice in the way they are treated. So, dear parent, you should punish your children but not humiliate them; you must strive to maintain mutual respect and love while applying punishment. Only then would the true message of just punishment be delivered.