It is important for parents and children to know the difference between discipline and punishment. Parents must always discipline. Everyone who is a child of God needs to know that God never punishes His children, but He is always disciplining them (see Hebrews 12:5-11).
Doug Wilson in his wise book, Standing on the Promises: A Handbook for Biblical Childrearing writes the following about the distinctions between discipline and punishment:
We like to paint with a broad brush. In the modern world discriminating is a bad word, and so we very rarely are. This is especially true of those areas which bear a superficial resemblance to anything else—whether or not there are profound differences on a more basic level. The difference between discipline and punishment is one such distinction, and one which all diligent parents must master regardless. And so what is the distinction? Discipline is corrective; it seeks to accomplish a change in the one being disciplined. Punishment is meted out in the simple interests of justice.
In bringing up children, parents should be disciplining them. In hanging a murderer, the civil magistrate is not disciplining—he is punishing. One of the reasons our society is so unsafe is that the magistrate should be punishing, and he isn't; he should not be disciplining, and he is trying to. God disciplines His people as He takes them through the daily process of their sanctification. He has their final glorification in view, and all His discipline works toward that end. But on the last day, He shall punish the wicked. When God finally pitches the ungodly away from Himself, He will have no intention of their subsequent improvement.
To read the entire chapter "Love and Security Through Godly Discipline" click here.