Have you ever been paralyzed with fear? Perhaps you were walking across a road when suddenly a horn blast from a large truck caused you to freeze right there. The ideal thing to do is run away from the noise, but there we are caught by neither a fight nor flight response. We can’t move.

This, to some degree, illustrates the difficulty children and adults have when they are required to think, process and learn while in a state of fear.

Without getting into the science of it, suffice it to say, fear from constant criticism, emotional, or verbal abuse, insults, embarrassments, etc., can cause our brains to freeze – seriously limiting its ability to learn and retain what the child has learned. 

What Doesn’t Work

Some teachers may use this as a means of maintaining control in a classroom, but the end results may be a child who has anxiety, difficulty learning or speaking – the very reasons we want our children to attend classes.

So what can we do? Classes must maintain proper decorum through standards and rules. Children thrive under reasonable rules that are maintained. It does mean we teachers and parents the best methods when we deal with misbehaving children.

What Does Work

In brief, punishments can be through reasoning and consequences – whether good or bad, depending on behavior. All of this is best handled with a calm voice. Rewards and reasonable, non-physical punishments can truly motivate.

What is it that your child really loves to do? For many kids today, it’s video games and animation. Many parents find that rewarding their kids with these gives them a strong motive – especially when they find out you aren’t kidding that they’ll lose out if they do not try during class.

This way of managing children to reason and use logic helps them become good communicators later in life. They will learn to develop better self control, social and management skills.


Many children are naturally more active than others. Some parents make sure their kids get a good dose of exercise before their class. The benefits to their brains is well documented. It improves concentration and memory.

Dr. John J. Ratey, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, wrote a book entitled: Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain.

Dr. Ratey, gives three main powerful reasons we want to include exercise in our kid’s routine. “First, it optimizes your mind-set to improve alertness, attention, and motivation; second, it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information; and third, it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus.” In short, not only does exercise help the brain get ready to learn but it actually makes retaining information easier.”

In Short

While some children and adults deal better with harsh criticism than others. Many children who have to endure it a lot lack confidence, grow up extremely shy and unable to stand up for themselves. On the other hand, using good communication, reasonable persuasive tactics like rewarding or withholding TV or video games can go a long way in providing a good learning environment that enables ample creativity, memory and learning.

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