Discipline is NOT about
1. PunishmentPunishment 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 obedienceSure, 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. ShamingWe 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.
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 Supervised by Amy Fuller, PhD, LMFT-S