Discipline Vs. Punishment

Discipline and punishment are not the same. Punishment is a penalty or reprimand for doing something wrong or misbehaving in some way.

Discipline, on the other hand, teaches a child right from wrong, how to respect others, how to control his impulses, to feel secure and loved, and to think for themselves.

Discipline Guidelines:

» Be consistent in your methods of discipline – this lets the child know that there are predictable consequences for his/her actions
» Stay calm and avoid losing control
» Do not criticize, but let the child know that you are not happy with his/her behavior
» Offer positive reinforcement rather than focusing only on negative behavior
» Never spank or use physical punishment – spanking teaches a child to be afraid but does not teach him/her to be respectful

Parenting Styles:

Be authoritative not authoritarian. Authoritarian is being overly strict and making children afraid or fearful. Authoritative involves setting rules and limits while also communicating with the child why the rules and limits are necessary.

Effective Discipline Tips:

» Plan ahead as to what the consequences should be for certain behavior
» Do not give in when your child whines or cries about a particular consequence
» Do not continually repeat a command – repeat only once with the resulting consequence if the undesirable behavior continues – then immediately follow through with the consequence
» Ignore minor or unimportant misbehaviors

Setting Limits:

» Begin with just a few rules
» Explain why you are saying “no” – do not say “because I said so”
» Be clear about your expectations so the child knows exactly what the limits are and the resulting consequences
» Have set times for meals and bedtime – structure helps children know what is expected of them

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