Oklahoma Family Therapists Debate Effective Discipline

Tuesday, September 16th 2014, 6:38 pm
By: News 9

Adrian Peterson has apologized for injuring his son while punishing him, but defended his actions by pointing to his own upbringing. His case is now allowing family therapists to tackle a big issue: Effective punishment.

Experts said this is a great time to talk about effective discipline and the recipe that makes punishments work.

"Rules without relationship leads to rebellion,” said family therapist Donnie Van Curen.

Van Curen told News 9 society will never settle the matter of whether spanking is right or wrong.

“I think there is too much literature both ways that can support, it just depends on what side you want to go on,” Van Curen explained.

He said a more productive discussion is how to ensure a parent's choice of discipline is effective.

“You punish a kid and you don't tell them for what, he's confused and all he feels is the hurt and pain and response,” Van Curen said. “Then you don't set that reflection afterwards to have the relationship, well then all you have is a punishment.”

9/15/2014 Related Story: REPORTS: Peterson Accused Of Abusing A Second Child

Van Curen said disciplining starts with laying the ground rules.

“Do your kids understand what's right and what's wrong? Do they understand what's condoned and what's not? Do they understand the parameters, as well as what the discipline would be or the consequences for doing something?” Van Curen asked.

When it is time to punish, parents should do it without emotion and be consistent with what they have done in the past.

“Are we disciplining through our emotions because of what we're feeling and not as a consequence of something to try and train and teach a child,” he said.

Finally, parents must reconnect with the child after a punishment with a conversation.

“Do we understand what happened? Do you understand where you went wrong? How are we going to work on that? I love you and I care about you,” Van Curen explained as a good way of handling a discipline conversation.

Van Curen added that every child is different and some forms of punishment may not work.

9/12/14 Related Story: Former OU Star Peterson Indicted For Child Injury In Texas