Should Exercise Be Used as Punishment?

Disclaimer: I don’t have children, so when I make observations about parenting, know that I have no idea what I’m talking about, capisce?

While on my recent beach vacation I saw a young girl doing burpees in the sand. She was crying. Her mother was standing over her, drill sergeant-style, yelling at the kid about her form, her crying, and her begging to be allowed to stop. At first I thought this was some weird sort of pre-pubescent boot camp. Then I realized mom was punishing her because she and her sister had been fighting. Trust me, I didn’t make this discovery by eaves-dropping. The mom was screaming and shaming this girl so loudly, I could hear her over the waves. And I might mention, as mom was demonstrating the exercise, she didn’t keep her back straight while in the plank.

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t know the back story to this scene I was witnessing and I certainly didn’t know the people involved. But as I tried to not judge the mom, I could feel my blood boiling; I felt so sorry for that girl.

Perhaps I’m fortunate, but I don’t view exercise as punishment. I like working out. I like the endorphins, the stress reduction and all the other benefits.

I wonder if this little girl will grow up to view exercise as a negative, as something that must be done when she’s misbehaved. I hope not.

Do you think exercise should be used to punish children? I’d love to read your comments.


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