The word discipline means to impart knowledge and skill, to teach.
However, discipline is often equated with punishment and control. There is a great deal of controversy about the appropriate ways to discipline children, and parents are often confused about effective ways to set limits and instill self-control in their child.
Discipline can be postive and it can be negative.
Positive discipline is a parenting technique focused on kindness and trust and it lets parents use discipline as an instructive tool to teach kids how to behave in the world.
Positive Discipline is grounded in what the adult does, rather than on what the child did. It requires adults to be intentional, knowledgeable, and wise and the respect and teaching must come from the heart.
Positive discipline has the best and long term interest of the child in mind. It is proven effective and It strengthens relationships and adds a sense of belonging and significance.
The Goals of Effective Discipline
Discipline is the structure that helps the child fit into the real world happily and effectively. It is the foundation for the development of the child’s own self-discipline. Effective and positive discipline is about teaching and guiding children, not just forcing them to obey. As with all other interventions aimed at pointing out unacceptable behaviour, the child should always know that the parent loves and supports him or her. Trust between parent and child should be maintained and constantly built upon.
Parenting is the task of raising children and providing them with the necessary materials and emotional care to further their physical, emotional, cognitive and social development.
Disciplining children is one of the most important yet difficult responsibilities of parenting and there are no shortcuts. It must be stressed that teaching about limits and acceptable behaviour takes time and a great deal of energy. The hurried pace of today’s society can be an obstacle to effective discipline.
The goal of effective discipline is to foster acceptable and appropriate behaviour in the child and to raise emotionally mature adults. A disciplined person is able to postpone pleasure, is considerate of the needs of others, is assertive without being aggressive or hostile, and can tolerate discomfort when necessary.
The foundation of effective discipline is respect. The child should be able to respect the parent’s authority and also the rights of others. Inconsistency in applying discipline will not help a child respect his or her parents. Harsh discipline such as humiliation (verbal abuse, shouting, name-calling) will also make it hard for the child to respect and trust the parent.
Thus, effective discipline means discipline applied with mutual respect in a firm, fair, reasonable and consistent way. The goal is to protect the child from danger, help the child learn self-discipline, and develop a healthy conscience and an internal sense of responsibility and control. It should also instill values.
One of the major obstacles to achieving these goals is inconsistency, which will confuse any child, regardless of developmental age. It can be particularly hard for parents to be consistent role models. Telling children to “Do as I say, but not as I do” does not achieve effective discipline. Parental disagreements about child-rearing techniques, as well as cultural differences between parents, often result in inconsistent disciplining methods.
It is important that in teaching effective discipline, we do not impose their our agendas on the families. A balanced, objective view should be used to provide resources, and the goal should be to remain objective. This means using principles supported by academic, peer-reviewed literature. This is particularly important when dealing with controversial issues such as disciplinary spanking.