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Measures of Education Using Reward and Punishment Policy

8120 2010/03/08 2024/05/24
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measures of education using reward and punishment policy

the following measures, by allah’s will, protect the child against any psychological diseases, moral deviations and social imbalances. the most important measures are:


1- moderation in applying reward and punishment:

the worst policy that harmed many generations is intimidation and focus on physical punishment. this turns the child into a rough violent person or a weak coward who can be easily led and controlled by anyone ([1]). this is why disciplining the child should be gradual, as education is a progressive process of many steps. if the parent/educator starts with the most aggressive punishment, then he will run out of other options as he did not use the more lenient discipline possibilities first. punishment should be the last resort and final solution that parents use with the child ([2]), they should give the child a chance and forgive him if someone intercedes and asks the parents not to punish the child by giving him another chance ([3]). a lot of intimidation and punishment can make mistakes easy for the child as he will get used to punishment and hitting by parents ([4]). thus, we should avoid using one discipline or punishment all the time, rather to use direction, persuasion and firmness.



the parent/educator should not exaggerate in threatening the child without following an actual measure or discipline, as the child will eventually underestimate the threat and will not listen anymore. the parent should apply the punishment even once, of course if the child deserves to be punished, so that the parent keeps his image as a respectable father or mother that stick to their words ([5]).



also, exaggeration in rewarding the child and showering him with gifts will lead to greed. the child will not be convinced with rewards unless they are much more than what he was given last time by the parents ([6]).



the parent should avoid using any abusive language such as scolding or insulting during the punishment of the child ([7]) because this hurts the child and makes him feel small, offended and despised. it might even make the child hate his parents as he would feel like a victim ([9]), hence the parent or educator should clarify to the child that discipline is for his goodness not because of a grudge or unjustified oppression ([10]).



the parent/educator should avoid using punishment and reward excessively in a way that leads the child to fear creatures than fearing the creator. the parent should direct the child to fear almighty allah first and foremost by warning him of allah’s punishment in the present life and the hereafter. the parent should be so careful not to raise the child to obey and seek the contentment of people without obeying allah, seeking his mercy and fearing from his wrath ([11]). pleasing people should not be the priority or aim of the child, but rather to seek allah’s forgiveness and mercy. the parent should never intimidate the child and make him feel afraid of policemen, doctors, darkness or any fantasies and unreal images such as the bogyman etc, because we certainly do not want the child to grow up to be a cowardly or timid person.



some parents intimidate the child by making him afraid of allah’s torture and the hellfire, and they do not mention any of the blessings, mercy and pleasures of paradise and the hereafter. too much intimidation of the hellfire might make the child inconsiderate of the punishment of allah or the hellfire. parents should not say to the child “you will enter the hellfire” or “allah will torture you for doing such and such” all the time, and ignore to remind him of paradise and the good reward of allah. they should make a balance of mentioning paradise and hellfire. we should not judge or say that someone is going to heaven or going to heal, but rather to say that the one who does not pray will not enter paradise and he will be tortured in the hellfire.



2- taking into account individual differences:

the wisdom of the parent/educator is reflected in choosing the proper educational method according to different aspects such as:


* punishment and reward should be suitable with the age of the child. when the child is one or two years old, it is enough to frown for a short time or not to give him something he loves when he makes a mistake. when he is three, we can punish him by preventing him from playing with his favorite toys for a while or banning him from going out to play with peers or neighbors in the park ([12]).



* the punishment should suit the kind of mistake he has made, for example if he destroys his toy or abandons it then he should be prevented from playing with it. if he messes up the house and throws things away, we should assign him to organize the mess he has caused. if it is too much damage, then it will not be practical to ask him to repair it especially if he is too young ([13]).



* punishment should be appropriate with the nature of the child. some children are sensitive and shy by nature, so it would be enough to admonish them. some children are stubborn so nothing fits them except a firm punishment ([14]). sometimes depriving the child of a toy he loves is much harder than beating or spanking him and sometimes banning him from seeing his friends is a lot harder and more effective as a punishment than depriving him of pocket money or candy.



* punishment should suit situations, as the child might be hiding his mistake so it would be best to ignore and deal with the situation from a distance. if he repeats the mistake then he should be punished privately without announcing it to the rest of the household members, because telling everybody of his mistake will make him feel so shy and vulnerable by disclosing what he has been keeping as a secret ([15]).

the child might make the mistake in front of the relatives or strangers, so the punishment should be postponed till the parent is alone with the child. punishing the child in front of others will break his morale and make him feel so little or despised ([16]), the child might also be stubborn and repeats the mistake because of being punished in front of people and he might even lose his shyness.



* punishment and reward should be used differently and gradually, because constant repetition might lessen the effectiveness of the method ([17]).


* taking into account the individual differences while raising children, adult children or teenagers should be punished privately because they are mature and their younger siblings should respect them and not to see them in such vulnerable position. yet, the eldest child should be punished in front of other siblings if his mistake is clear and known to everyone, but the parent/educator should be careful in the way he admonishes his teen child as at some point too much blame can compromise the relationship between the parent and the teenager ([18]). the parent should be also prudent in the way he directs his eldest son because the eldest child is usually the role model to his siblings. he is the man of the house when his father is traveling, ill or deceased, so he should always be respected.



* the sex of the child is an individual difference as well; the kind of punishment that suits and works with the daughter might be different than the kind of punishment required to discipline the boy. the daughter is easily disciplined and directed due to her sensitivity while the parent needs to be tougher with his son.



([1]) muqaddimah (known as prolegomenon in english) by ibn khaldun: page 508.

([2]) manhaj al-tarbiyah al-islamiyah by mohamed qutb: page 379.

([3]) tarbiyat al-awlad fil islam by abdullah naseh elwan: 2/727-728.

([4]) manhaj al-tarbiyah al-nabwiyah by mohamed nour swaid: page 27.

([5]) manhaj al-tarbiyah al-islamiyah by mohamed qutb: page 380.

([6]) kaifa nagael min al-tifl rajol al-mustaqbal by bahia abu sabit: page 20.

([7]) mushkilat tarbawiyah by mohamed rashid al-owaid: page 32-36.

([8]) kaifa nourabi tiflan by mohamed ziad hemdan: page 34.

([9]) al-tarbiyah al-islamiyah by suliman al-haqeel: page 61.

([10]) tarbiyat al-awlad fil islam by abdullah naseh elwan: 2/727-728.

([11]) min akhta’na fi tarbiyat awladan by mohamed al-saheem: 12-17, 72-76.

([12]) al-mushkilat al-sulokiyah by nabih al-ghabrah: page 65.

([13]) al-mushkilat al-sulokiyah by nabih al-ghabrah: page 63.

([14]) manhaj al-tarbiyah al-islamiyah by mohamed qutb: page 372.

([15]) ihya' 'ulum al-deen by imam al-ghazali: 3/70.

([16]) tazkirat al-'abaa by umar bin ahmed al-halaby: page 62, kaifa yourabi al-muslim waladu by mohamed mowlouy: page 247-248.

([17]) manhaj al-tarbiyah al-islamiyah by mohamed qutb: page 378.

([18]) tazkirat al-'abaa by umar bin ahmed al-halaby: page 62, kaifa yourabi al-muslim waladu by mohamed mowlouy: page 247-248.

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