Ensuring discipline is a complex responsibility. It is not just about punishment for bad behavior but also a process involving the many facets of childhood. It is a way of teaching children how to manage their own behavior. Valya Telep, Ph.D., child development specialist at Virginia State University, enumerates three main tasks that parents should keep in mind:
Help children learn to get along with family and friends
Teach them to behave in an agreeable way
Allow them to learn from their mistakes and experience the consequences of their decisions.
Preschool teacher Lolita David seconds Telep’s view and further explains that discipline is all about teaching your child good decision-making skills, while encouraging good communication skills and promoting feelings of self-worth and self-control.
What’s Your Child Discipline Style? Admit it, the discipline style you’re using on your children right now does not stray all that far from what your parents used on you when you were growing up. That’s perfectly okay, according to David. That is how most parents deal with the first sign of misbehavior. We inherit styles from our parents—if their styles worked on us, we don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t work on our kids.
Both Telep and David agree that times have changed as well. What worked 20 years ago may not necessarily work on kids today. David adds that corporal punishment is no longer the only option parents have, thanks to advances in research by many developmental psychologists. In a landmark study during the late 1960s, clinical and developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind, Ph. D., developed a typology of parenting styles and patterns of discipline based on love and limits—authoritarian, authoritative, and indulgent. According to Baumrind, discipline should be a balanced exercise of parental control and affection. This makes a huge difference when it comes to effective discipline.
Click here to read more about guidelines for child discipline and the importance of different discipline styles.