Discipline means to teach, and the objective of child discipline is to guide, teach and develop the foundation for self-discipline. Discipline can help a child do what is right just because he wants to, not because he fears punishment. Finding the best way to discipline a child can be confusing, considering all the controversy over various methods. Whatever type of discipline is used, it should focus on teaching rather than punishment, according to the experts of leading organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society. Kids need to explore behavior and learn from harmless mistakes, notes the Virginia Cooperative Extension, in cautioning parents that discipline and punishment fall into distinctly different categories. Mutual respect and love are also an important part of the discipline process.
The types of discipline include variations of strict, moderate and permissive, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension, but the interpretation of these labels has a wide range of latitude. One parent's strict control may be permissive for other parents. Virginia Cooperative Extension defines these styles: Extremely permissive type of discipline provide few rules, and the children tend to whine and become aggressive. Moderate discipline set limits for important things and create a teaching atmosphere that allows children to experience the ranges of behavior to make a few mistakes in learning. Extremely strict homes raise either timid children unable to make important decisions or rebellious kids.
The foundation for effective discipline rests with the child's respect of the parents' roles to set down and enforce rules, according to an article by the Canadian Paediatric Society published at the U.S. National Institututes of Health website. The Virginia Cooperative Extension claims strict disciplinarians have unhappy households where both parents and children feel uncomfortable with roles, while families in the moderate type of discipline have happier experiences. Moderate discipline methods include praising kids for good behavior and adults modeling the behavior they want their children to use. Discipline types that take into consideration the child's age and stage of development have better chances for success.
Selecting Discipline Type
Discipline types incorporate special techniques to deal with undesirable behavior. Strict-discipline homes many times use spanking as a form of punishment when children break the rules. Moderate discipline techniques typically take something away from the child for bad behavior or reward good behavior with the freedom to go places or do things. Not all children respond in the same way to discipline, and some parents feel uncomfortable using some discipline techniques such as spanking. The Virginia Cooperative Extension recommends the moderate type of discipline over extreme type, but it encourages parents to keep logs of their disciplinary actions and children's behavior so they can see first-hand which type works best.
Effective discipline techniques give parents authority but also make a clear distinction between punishment and discipline. Behavior programs that focus only on punishment emphasize the negative, rather than encouraging kids to behave well and avoid the discipline plan. Strict discipline stresses punishment, while permissive parenting avoids it. Moderate homes encourage children to become involved in setting standards for discipline and punishment as the child grows.The Fred Rogers Company encourages parents to set limits and establish regular routines to teach children to respect boundaries, rather than focusing on punishment.
- Paediatrics and Child Health: Effective Discipline for Children
- Virginia Cooperative Extension: Discipline for Young Children -- A Look at Discipline
- Fred Rogers Company: Everyday Rules and Limits
- Oklahoma State University Extension Service: Discipline Methods for Parents and Grandparents
- Child Welfare League of America: Discipline Techniques
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Family Life -- Disciplining Your Child