Children are the most innocent and adorable creature made by God. People say that children are like soft clay which can be molded and given any desired shape, but the process of molding is not an easy job. When we were young, we were taught that ‘a man is known by the company he keeps' or ‘a rotten apple can spoil an entire basket of fresh apples' same happens in the case of children.
They are influenced by each and every person they come across; therefore sometimes they get indulged in wrongful acts. They end up doing something which was never expected from them or which attracts severe punishment.
It is said that ‘spare the rod and spoil the child', but society now is changing and ‘rod' is not the solution to all the problems. Each and every child vary from one another and so does their problems. Treating all of them equally is not only illogical but also unethical as it would never do any good to the child instead do harm to the child. Punishment should be given in such a way that the child learns a lesson; he should have the realization from within that he has done something wrong.
So that, the next time he gets into such situation he would never repeat the mistake, not because of the sufferings but because his conscience will not support him. Acts of children vary from age to age, so the punishment should also vary accordingly.
According to the Code of Criminal Procedure 1872, children have been categorized in three age groups, below 7years, 7-12 years and 12-18 years; punishment varies according to the age. A child who is below the age of 7 years and commits a crime is acquitted even if found guilty. A child who is of age between 7-12years is put under trial and if he is found to have the certain level of maturity which is required to commit such crime, is put under rehabilitation or correctional homes but if it is proved in the court of law that the child is not matured enough to understand that his act is a criminal offense, he is acquitted by the court.
The process of determining the maturity level of the child is not absolute; it completely depends on the crime and the circumstantial evidence. A child who is convicted of a crime, and is of age between 12 to 18years, is put in rehabilitation or correctional homes irrespective of the fact that he has committed such crime with required maturity or not.
Above mentioned punishments are applicable when a child has already committed an offense which attracts legal penalties, but there are various other wrongful acts in which a child indulges which does not attract any legal penalties but must be nipped in the bud. Those acts must be corrected using more logical punishments, for example, when a child gets low grades in an exam, instead of being cooperative and understanding, his parents abuses him and storm blow at him. When a child lies, his parents tend to give him severe punishment so that he never dares to lie but at that time his parents should make him understand the ill effects of telling lies.
Punishment should make such an impact on the child that he fears the evil not the consequences of punishment. Hitting, scolding, etc. are not the appropriate punishments for children in modern times. Mental punishments work better for children than physical punishments. If a child does something wrong, he should not be allowed to go to the park or to play video games on the computer for a reasonable period.
Hold on allowances, confined to home, extra assignments or home works, lesser time on the phone, restrictions on having a favorite food, restriction on watching television, etc. are some of the ways in which punishment can affect a child in a much better way.
It should never be forgotten that punishments are always secondary. Primarily, parents and teachers should try to make the child realize what his mistake is, and it affects him. Only if such efforts fail, the child should be given punishment. Punishments act superficially but talking to a child and understanding his point view makes a greater impact on the child.