3 Common Misconceptions About Discipline You Need to Know – Disciplining Your Kids Well, Part 1

Disciplining your kids is a necessary part of parenting. While it is essential, discipline can often be misunderstood. In this two-part series, we will look at some of  common misconceptions and some helpful tips for effective discipline. First, some common misconceptions…

Discipline is NOT about

1. Punishment

Punishment does not build skills. It often has the reverse effect of teaching children what to do to avoid getting caught next time. Punishment tends to erode relationships and does not make children want to learn from the person who is punishing them. (Siegel and Payne, 2014; Byrne Biancardi, 2014)

2.Demanding respect and obedience

Sure, you want your kids to respect you, as their parent. But, a good question to ask yourself is, “Am I acting in a manner that is worthy of respect?” meaning, “Am I responding calmly, being curious about my child’s experience or am I reacting out of anger or frustration by yelling, nagging or insulting” (Canadian Paediatric Society, 2004). Treating your children like they are worthy of respect is one sure way to teach them to treat others with respect.

3. Shaming

We all make mistakes. Giving your children the impression that they are “bad” because of their errors or poor choices is harmful and can have a long-lasting impact. While you may not approve of your children’s behavior in the moment, make it clear that you still love and value them.

If discipline is not any of the above, then what is it really about?

  • Discipline is first and foremost about teaching and guiding our children’s behavior (Siegel and Payne, 2014; Byrne Biancardi, 2014). Teaching about acceptable, appropriate and kind behavior may seem like a lot of time and effort at the outset. However, if discipline is done well, you will have to discipline less over time because skill-building helps children to become self-disciplined, with the ultimate goal of them developing into healthy, well adjusted, and considerate adults.
Next up, in Part 2 of this blog series, we will explore some useful tips to consider and implement when disciplining your children. At Fuller Life, we are here to provide resources and assistance to support your journey in teaching and guiding your children.   Resources: Canadian Paediatric Society. Effective Discipline for Children. Paediatr Child Health. 2004 Jan; 9(1): 37–41. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2719514/ 

Siegel, D. J., & Bryson, T. P. (2014). No-drama discipline: The whole-brain way to calm the chaos and nurture your child’s developing mind (First edition.). New York: Bantam.

Byrne-Biancardi, S. (2014). 6 Secrets of Highly Effective Discipline From a Seasoned Teacher. https://afineparent.com/be-positive/effective-discipline.html   Contributed by Tamara Tatum, LMFT-Associate
Tamara Tatum Resident Therapist
Supervised by Amy Fuller, PhD, LMFT-S  

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