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Child Discipline

Discipline is considered to be a key element to a good quality of living. Thus, it is essential to implement discipline into children’s life from a young age. Child discipline can be taught by parents at households and in various other social settings, as well as by teachers in educational institutions.

What Is Child Discipline?

Child discipline refers to the process of teaching acceptable behavior to a child in order to avoid behavioral issues in future. It helps a child to understand the value of rules and teaches them to comply with social norms. By using certain methods the child is taught certain skills and knowledge that enables them to become responsible adults and follow established code of conduct. According to a 2004 study 1 , discipline refers to “Discipline is the structure that helps the child fit into the real world happily and effectively. It is the foundation for the development of the child’s own self-discipline.” Effective discipline is about enabling children with the right knowledge and skills and guiding them, instead of simply compelling them to comply and obey.

Discipline is generally considered to be an important process in parenting. Institutions like schools, begin with children at a very tender age in case of discipline. It is the process of educating the child about the right behaviour in a certain setting. Child Discipline, in very simple words, is the method that introduces children to the societal rules and regulations by enforcing effective and different tools such as, positive reinforcement, modeling/counseling, and many a times a supportive and caring household. Punishment is often thought to be very effective in child discipline as it plants the idea of facing consequences for one’s actions. However, it certainly cannot be used as the only plausible tool for establishing discipline in children. The process of instilling discipline in a child is extremely straightforward in nature but working with it can be equally very challenging.

Child discipline also happens to be one of the key components of effective classroom management. The classroom discipline are simply strategies that teachers use in classrooms to manage student’s behavior and general attitude towards the instructional structure.t Educators who imply consistent discipline strategies are more prone to exhibit better effective classroom management.

Methods Of Child Discipline

There are several effective methods to instigate proper child discipline from a young age.

1. Positive Discipline

This method of discipline uses praise and encouragement as tools. It is important to shift the focus from punishment based discipline that many parents use as a child discipline strategy. It is advised that in order to develop solutions regarding a certain matter, parents must teach problem-solving skills to their children alongside working with them. Positive discipline 2 is all about an authoritative approach to address behavior related issues.

2. Gentle Discipline

A parent being benign toward the child’s misbehavior in order to avoid instilling shame, despite given consequences. Gentle discipline 3 is all about avoiding potential problems. This method is more about the parents managing their vehemens while remitting the child’s improper behavior. Humor and distraction are often used in this process of child discipline. Redirection is a heavily used tool to direct children into addressing their disputable behavior.

3. Boundary-Based Discipline

Parents often set an ultimatum to make rules appear clear upfront their child. This strategy is called boundary-based 4 child discipline. There are always clear, natural and logical consequences that follow the child’s misbehavior, but it also enables them to have choices. It happens to be very effective as it introduces children into logical reasoning.

4. Behavior Correction

This type focuses on both negative and positive consequences. Rewards are used as a consequence of proper behavior and ignorance is inflicted when the child misbehaves. The loss of privilege 5 often follows as bad consequences that puts a child in a position of contemplating their own actions.

5. Emotional Guidance

One of the key aspects of child discipline is about making children aware of their emotions. Emotional coaching 6 is a five-step method of discipline that concentrates on educating children about their emotions and how to process them in the right way. Children tend to verbalize their emotions rather than acting on them, when they actualise their emotions. In this method, children are taught that their feelings are valid and with the parent’s help they learn appropriate ways to work with their feelings.

Methods Applied At Educational Institutes

Following are a few prominent classroom management strategies that are frequently used because of their efficacy.

1. Preventive Discipline

Educators who excel at classroom management strategies, happen to establish guidelines, expectations and rules regarding the behavior of the children. An essential facet of preventive discipline is demonstrating expectations clearly. Educators implement preventive child discipline 7 with proactive interventions toward possible disruptive behavior by explaining the subject about what behaviors are appropriate in a certain setting. It also helps students to understand what is expected of them and what is not. However, this type of discipline strategy might bring up consequences which follow forbidden behaviors or actions.

2. Supportive Discipline

Supportive strategy of discipline may sound just like punishment but the method is factually different than the latter. An educator provides their pupil with a warning or suggestion regarding a problematic behavior before any consequences take place. Supportive ways of child discipline can be more effective than preventive discipline methods as the latter may cause periodic failures throughout the school year. A teacher might present a student with disruptive behavior with the options to either avoid or accept potential punishment. Thus, redirection and nonverbal communication, both are considered as examples of supportive discipline strategy.

3. Corrective Discipline

This type of child discipline is taken into action when a child fails to redirect their behavior after repeated efforts of the teacher exhibiting supportive discipline. Corrective discipline strategy is how consequences are delivered to the students following an infringement. The variations of corrective child discipline methods are wide in range, amongst which some methods are more effective than the others. An example of a risky corrective discipline strategy is to engage in a verbal squabble with a student, as this can lead to a volatile situation which ultimately affects the teacher’s authority as a leader. It is highly advised that corrective discipline strategies must be adapted according to the student’s age. Kindergarten pupils can be taught discipline by putting them in a time out, while highschool students are less likely to abide by such provisions. The key component to corrective discipline strategy is to maintain a consistent application of consequences.

Importance Of Child Discipline

Working with child discipline is often a tiresome endeavor that inflicts stress, tension, sadness in both the child and the parent. But educating children about discipline is an essential facet of the kid’s development. Confrontations are usually difficult but it often allows one to build a transparent relationship with their child, which ultimately makes life a lot easier for both. Child discipline does not only focus on introducing kids with the consequences for their actions, but it actually ensures that the child is acquiring the necessary skills they need to grow up into responsible adults.

Following are some of the reasons why it is extremely necessary to build child discipline from an early age:

1. Helps in anxiety management

Discipline helps a child to manage anxiety by offering them with support and proper reasoning for the consequences of their actions. Children with overly permissive parents tend to experience anxiety while making decisions as an adult. Discipline introduces kids to parental guidance and leadership skills. The absence of these can make life unsettling for the kid in adulthood.

Read More About Generalized Anxiety Disorder Here

2. Helps in making a choice

Appropriate child discipline helps children with their critical reasoning skills that allow them to make better choices in life. When children exhibit a behavior that follows an adverse consequence, they learn to avoid making such choices that may trigger the negative consequences. A healthy child discipline strategy helps kids to learn alternative ways to help them get their needs met. Self regulation, impulse control, problem solving skills – are some of the constructive skills that kids develop with appropriate discipline training.

3. Contributes in building emotional resilience

Whenever a child faces some sort of time-out due to certain actions or emotional outburst, they register that reaction as an improper behavior and refrain from performing the same action by controlling their emotions. Time-out teaches the child to choose between advert consequences and avoiding situations that lead to upsetness. Praise is a child discipline strategy that helps children understand the importance of bearing with frustration. The same can be taught by ignoring mild disruptive behavior at times. When the temper tantrums of a child gets ignored, they learn to discard this way of getting their needs met. Ignoring whining teaches the child that this sort of behavior is useless in affecting the parent’s reaction.

4. Creates threat awareness

Discipline hugely helps in teaching children about safety, like looking both ways while crossing a road. The children learn about the adverse effects of disobeying safety precautions. Child discipline also helps in addressing health risks in children, like obesity. Children learn to control their urges and demands with the parent’s help in understanding the underlying causes behind rules, which in turn works as self actualization. Explaining specific cautions and rules to the children can help them understand the certain safety hazards. This makes them more likely to consider safety risks even when the parent is not around.

Notes For Parents And Caregivers

There are three styles of parenting that can be noticed in general:

1. Authoritative parent

This is the kind of parent who has very clear expectations and reverberation. They tend to be affectionate toward their child and usually entertains flexibility while indulging into collaborative problem solving methods 8 with their child. It helps immensely with behavioral issues in children. It is considered as the most effective way of parenting.

2. Authoritarian parent

The authoritarian parent 9 also exhibits clear expectations and consequences but they tend to be less affectionate toward the child. They might come off as people who are protective of their opinions and beliefs, thus they end up forcing their ideologies onto their children. This is considered as a less effective way of parenting.

3. Permissive parent

This type of parent is absolutely opposite of the previous one. They are usually very affectionate toward the children but also fail to provide much-needed child discipline 10 . Thus, it is also considered to be a less effective way of parenting.

Understanding: The Key To Guidance

Beginning with child discipline at a young age is as important as parents deciding what method is appropriate to teach their child proper discipline, since every child and parent have different relationship dynamics and socio-cultural values. Schools can provide discipline in the boundaries of instructional structure, whereas starting off with healthy discipline building methods at home will make the child able to perform and conceive different circumstances and societal settings.

Caregivers need to keep in mind that children are like mere vessels that can be filled with whatever the guardian demonstrates as proper behavior or emotions. Thus, understanding and valuing the child’s emotions, as well as educating them about the bad consequences of certain behavior, makes parenting easier as well as ensures the children as potential responsible adults.

References:
  1. Effective discipline for children. (2004). Paediatrics & child health9(1), 37–50. https://doi.org/10.1093/pch/9.1.37 []
  2. Nelsen, J. (n.d.). POSITIVE DISCIPLINE. Faculty of Education, UBC. https://courses.educ.ubc.ca/socials/Articles/Praise%20vs%20Encouragement/PositiveDiscipline2012Excerpt.pdf []
  3. Dede Yildirim E, Roopnarine JL. Positive discipline, harsh physical discipline, physical discipline and psychological aggression in five Caribbean countries: Associations with preschoolers’ early literacy skills. Int J Psychol. 2019 Jun;54(3):342-350. doi: 10.1002/ijop.12465. Epub 2017 Nov 2. PMID: 29094762. []
  4. Hal A. Lawson (2016) Stewarding the Discipline With Cross-Boundary Leadership, Quest, 68:2, 91-115, DOI: 10.1080/00336297.2016.1151449 []
  5. Luiselli, J. K., Putnam, R. F., Handler, M. W., & Feinberg, A. B. (2005). Whole‐school positive behaviour support: Effects on student discipline problems and academic performance. Educational Psychology, 25(2-3), 183-198. https://doi.org/10.1080/0144341042000301265 []
  6. Emotional Coaching: A Practical Programme to Support Young People  []
  7. Mateja Pšunder (2005) Identification of discipline violations and its role in planning corrective and preventive discipline in school, Educational Studies, 31:3, 335-345, DOI: 10.1080/03055690500236936 []
  8. Steinberg, Laurence, & And Others. (1990, March). Authoritative Parenting and Adolescent Adjustment across Varied Ecological Niches. ERIC – Education Resources Information Center. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED324558.pdf []
  9. Chao, R. K. (n.d.). Beyond Parental Control and Authoritarian Parenting Style: Understanding Chinese Parenting through the Cultural Notion of Training. AACDR Publication Repository – Just another Faculty Network Sites site. https://aacdrpubs.faculty.ucdavis.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/211/2015/03/chao001.pdf []
  10. Niaraki, F. R., & Rahimi, H. The impact of authoritative, permissive and authoritarian behavior of parents on self-concept, psychological health and life quality | Rezai Niaraki | European online Journal of natural and social scienceshttps://european-science.com/eojnss/article/view/24 []