Punishment and reward in parental discipline for children aged 5 to 6 years: prevalence and groups at risk

Theunissen, M. H. C., Vogels, A. G. C. & Reijneveld, S. A., 22-Dec-2014, In : Academic pediatrics. 15, 1, p. 96-102 7 p.

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  • Punishment and reward in parental discipline for children aged 5 to 6 years

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OBJECTIVE: In this study we examined the use and predictors of different discipline practices by parents of children aged 5 to 6 years.

METHODS: We obtained cross-sectional data for a nationally representative Dutch sample of children aged 5 to 6 years within the setting of routine well-child visits provided to the entire population. A total of 1630 children participated (response rate, 84%). Before the visit, parents completed a questionnaire with questions about their approach to discipline (punishment and rewards). Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were used to examine associations between discipline practices and child, parent, and family factors.

RESULTS: Parental punishment prevalence was 21.9% for spanking and 80.3% for other punishment practices, such as time-outs. The prevalence of rewards as a discipline strategy was 32.2% for granting privileges and 86.3% for cuddling/complimenting. Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that spanking was more likely in families in which the mothers have low and medium levels of education and in families of non-Dutch ethnicity. Other punishment practices (eg, time-outs, verbal reprimands, and holding) were more likely in families of Dutch ethnicity. Granting privileges was more likely in families of non-Dutch ethnicity, who lived in large cities, whose income was below the poverty level, in unemployed families, and in small families. Cuddling and complimenting were more likely in families with a high maternal educational level, in families of Dutch ethnicity, and in small families.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings show the importance of considering social and economic factors when identifying and supporting parents with parenting/rearing challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-102
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic pediatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22-Dec-2014


  • children, discipline, parenting practices, CORPORAL PUNISHMENT, SPANKING, HEALTH, CONSEQUENCES, BEHAVIOR, STYLE

ID: 16006220