What Is Discipline? Webster’s Dictionary says “it is training to act in accordance with rules” and it continues a thought on punishment as “It is a penalty inflicted for an offense or fault.”
You see, some parents and teachers think discipline and punishment is the same thing. As you see, even Webster gave a close connection. Some think discipline is getting a child to behave and teaching him or her to be obedient. Some think it is what you do when children are naughty or misbehave.
Punishment focuses on the child, discipline targets the act. When we punish a child we are in effect saying to him, “You are loved (or not loved) because of the things you do.” Punishment teaches the child to be “good” as long as we are looking good but as soon as we turn our heads, watch out!
Discipline separates the child’s “goodness” from how well he does on a task. Our message now says, “You are OK even when your behavior is NOT OK.” We love the child but reject the behavior.
Well, what is discipline then?
• Helping a child learn to get along with his family and friends.
• Teaching a child to behave in an agreeable way.
• Allowing a child the freedom to learn from mistakes and experience the consequences of his/her decisions.
• Setting limits and correcting misbehavior.
• Guiding and encouraging children to feel good about themselves.
When we guide children toward positive behavior and learning, we are promoting a healthy attitude. Positive guidance encourages a child to think before they act. Positive guidance promotes self-control.
There are different styles of discipline that produce results that are different. Discipline requires thought, planning, and patience. Remember, it is never too late to teach discipline. Teaching discipline is not just a one-time thing. Discipline is a tough job but as children learn to control their own behavior, discipline gets easier and easier. It is well worth the effort to see the children become responsible for their actions. And you can feel proud that your loving care guided them on their way.
*Note: The purpose of discipline is to raise responsible, confident children who grow up to be persons who think for themselves, who care about others, and who live satisfying and useful lives. It must be a great feeling for the teachers and for you to see the children progress and achieve, behave properly without parental guidance and develop a sense of pride and pleasure for doing what is right.
Part 4 are the “Warning Signs” when the Disciplinary Approach may not be working.