What is discipline?
Primarily, discipline is related to educating, instructing and correcting but parental discipline could be linked to gardening. The way a gardener prunes the plant to prevent inclination in the wrong direction; similarly, a parent exercises discipline to give the child a right direction.
Discipline is indeed an integral part of bringing up a child but the degree of discipline needs to be altered keeping various things in mind. Too much of it can have adverse effects on the child.
Positive and Negative Discipline
Parents use discipline in order to get their children to behave in a certain manner. Choosing punishment as a way of persuading them to do something is ‘negative discipline’. It includes scolding, shouting, frightening, imposing, making them guilty etc. Negative discipline gives us quick results as it builds a sudden pressure on the child to correct what has been done wrongly.
But does that truly discipline our child?
Negative discipline does result in improved behaviour but it wouldn’t change the way a child actually wants to behave. Negative discipline would train him to understand when to control his behaviour but inside…nothing actually changes!
Negative discipline may affect the child in following ways:
- It can leave the child feeling unloved and unwanted.
- It can affect their sense of self-worth.
- It prevents sharing.
- The child may feel insecure.
- It may also result in indecisiveness in the future.
When we look at positive discipline, it is a perfect blend of encouragement and being fair. It includes teaching the child the gravity of behaving in a certain manner using words, examples and practical situations. It does not hold the full authority to decide for the child but rather involves him too that makes him mature day by day.
Positive discipline may affect the child in following ways:
- Improves their understanding of situations.
- Boosts confidence.
- They feel supported and not attacked.
- Makes them self-reliant
Now that being said, a major challenge lies in practising positive discipline.
How do we do that?
- Answer their ‘Why’-
Always remember that a child is capable of getting the logic if explained in an appropriate manner. For their every undesired behaviour, your ‘No’ must always be followed by an explanation to their ‘Why Not’.
- Know the reason behind their behaviour-
Knowing what drives him to behave in a certain manner can help a parent deal with the root cause. Don’t always think it is ‘bad’. It is probably the best your child can do at the moment.
- Strict No to hitting-
Hitting too much can lead a child to either fear a lot or fear no one. A wise parent is the one who uses words as a weapon and patience as a tool.
- Be consistent-
In the case of a stubborn child, it is very important to be consistent with what needs to be done followed by a logical explanation. The child needs to know that this is important.
- Shift the focus-
In place of focusing on what needs to be changed, focus on what needs to be done. It is a constructive way of approaching and minimising the frequency of undesired behaviour.
- Be open to options-
It is always a good idea to invite options from the child and let him come up with a way of doing the task. It offers flexibility and a chance to decide.