Studies show that praising children for perfect attendance makes their attendance worse. Montessorians avoid rewards and punishments of all kinds including praise because it can often have the opposite of the intended effect.
Researchers investigated the impact of parenting practices on the amount of time young children spend in front of screens. They found a majority of parents use screen time to control behavior, especially on weekends. This results in children spending an average of 20 minutes more a day on weekends in front of a screen. Researchers say this is likely because using it as a reward or punishment heightens a child’s attraction to the activity.
We don’t use rewards and punishments because they have unpredictable results!
Aside from being obviously cruel, spanking doesn’t work, unless what you’re trying to do is make your child emotionally unbalanced and forgetful.
The more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a new meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking.
Miss Wong said the study showed that punishing a bully does not often work and in fact could enhance bullies’ social status through notoriety.
The article goes on to explain that bullies are not intellectually stunted, nor are they unable to control their supposedly wild emotions. They have in fact calmly and rationally decided that bullying is the best way for them to advance themselves. And in an ordinary school environment, they may be absolutely correct.
Doctor Montessori writes about this sort of thing a long time ago.
As to punishments, we have many times come in contact with children who disturbed the others without paying any attention to our corrections. Such children were at once examined by the physician. When the case provided to be that of a normal child, we placed one of the little tables in the corner of the room, and in this way isolated the child; having him sit in a comfortable little armchair, so placed that he might see his companions at work, and giving him those games and toys to which he seemed most attracted. This isolation almost always succeeded in calming the child; from his position he could see the entire assembly of his companions, and the way in which they carried on their work was an object lesson much more efficacious than any words of the teacher could have been. Little by little he would come to see the advantages of being one of the company working so busily before his eyes, and he would really wish to go back and do as the others did. We have in this way lead back again to discipline all the children who at first rebelled against it. The isolated child was made the object of special care, almost as if he were ill. I myself, when I entered the room, went first of all directly to him, caressing him as if he were a very little child. Then I turned my attention to the others, interesting myself in their work, asking questions about it as if they had been little men. I do not know what happened in the soul of those children whom we found it necessary to discipline, but certainly the conversion was always very complete and lasting. They showed great pride in learning how to work and how to conduct themselves, and always showed a very tender affection for the teacher and for me. — Dr. Maria Montessori, The Montessori Method (1912)
It should be noted that her definition of the word “discipline” changed after this early work. But for more on those details you’ll have to take the AMI training.