In my article Discipline or Punishment? They're Not the Same Thing, we looked at the difference between discipline and punishment. We considered the effects that each has on children and on the relationship between parent and child.
Many parents are probably still wondering, “Well, what do you recommend then?”
Effective discipline teaches children life-management skills, self-control, self-direction, and how to care for others. (1) In order to teach all this and empower our children with the life skills they need, effective discipline must include three critical elements.
Effective Discipline Strategy: Positive Parent-Child Relationships
Children need an environment where there is a positive and supportive parent-child relationship which makes the children feel loved and secure. They know that an able adult is taking care of them and that their environment with that adult or adults is stable.
This knowledge is integral to a child’s feeling of self-worth. When a parent acts or reacts within this context, “children respond to the positive nature of the relationship and consistent discipline, the need for frequent negative interaction decreases, and the quality of the relationship improves further for both parents and children.” (1)
Effective Discipline Strategy: Proactively Teach Right Behaviors
The focal point of discipline is teaching children appropriate behavior or reactions to life or family situations.
It is hoped that a proactively approach will, hopefully, in turn result in positive interpersonal relationships with teachers, peers and others, and increase a child’s sense of self-discipline and self-esteem. To teach these expectations, parents need to describe the desired behavior and actions/reactions to the child so the child understands what the parent expects. (1)
Sometimes we as parents make the mistake of assuming our children already know the rules because we’ve yelled at them before for disobeying them.
But think about it.