Belfast Telegraph

Hubby is so tough on our son

Northern Ireland's number one agony aunt Fiona answers your problems

Dear Fiona, Whenever my 12-year-old son doesn’t do well in sports or school, or if he stands up for himself even slightly, my husband punishes him severely.

I think he’s being too tough and it’s starting to affect my son’s confidence.

He already gets angry at his dad. Will it cause problems in the future?

Mother, Lisburn

Dear Mother,

Punishment is deemed to decrease undesirable behaviours but research suggests that it merely suppresses them and they return upon discontinuation of the punishment.

Although behaviour is modified and controlled by consequences, there can be undesirable by-products such as aggression or resentment which may be more serious than the original undesirable behaviour that was initially being punished.

If he’s aware that punishment will be meted out due to failure, it’s quite likely that increased stress levels will breed failure. This will only propel the cycle of punishment which will lead to even more aggression and resentment towards your husband and perhaps even yourself for not protecting him from it.

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