Every parent’s struggle is to learn the ropes how to discipline his child.
The word “discipline” already feels heavy as it comes with a stigma relating to castigation, control, and correction. So it may not even come as a surprise to know that the earliest known use of the word “discipline” in history is punishment-related as it referred to chastisement of religious nature.
And to most parents in the Philippine setting, discipline has somehow earned its reputation of a reactive response to bad or inappropriate behavior—hoping to turn around the unbecoming of one’s kind to a more decent, well-mannered individual. And in the past generation it meant corporal punishment with the aid of broom stick, yard stick, clothes hanger, rubber slippers and leather belt.
Five types of child discipline
1. Positive discipline
Instead of focusing on punishment, positive discipline banks on teaching, praise, and encouragement.
Five criteria for positive discipline
- Sense of connection. Helps children feel a sense of belonging and significance.
- Mutual respect. Helps to encourage children with parents being kind and firm at the same time.
- Effective long-term. Considers what the child thinks, feels, learns and its impact to future survival.
- Teaches important social and life skills. Respect, concern for others, cooperation, problem solving and decision making skills to name a few.
- Constructive use of power and autonomy. Helps and invites children to discover how capable they are.
2. Gentle discipline
This style focuses on preventing problems through redirection. Consequences are given but does not instill shame.
3. Boundary-based discipline
Discipline focuses on setting limits and rules where kids are given choices but there are clear consequences for misbehavior.
4. Behavior modification
Good behavior is reinforced with rewards while misbehavior may involve loss of privileges.
5. Emotion coaching
This focuses on teaching kids about feelings and how to verbalize them, including how to deal with one’s emotions.
What about discipline and poor academic performance?
Sure the reward system can work well with our tiny ones but when they move to gradeschool, it takes more than chocolates and candies to do the work. This is the stage when they are mostly in school or home so generally, the misdemeanor comes from a decline in academic performance or having no progress at all. Puberty is a different story. So before they reach their tweens and teens, let’s see how we can have a better approach to discipline.
Approach to discipline to help your kids boost academic performance
Whatever parenting type you believe and follow, disciplining a child for academic performance should involve a balanced approach that emphasizes recognizing mistakes, learning, and improving rather than cursing, yelling, and drilling punishment. Health Harvard notes that children who are spanked have a higher risk of aggressive behavior, not to mention potential mental health and behavioral problems.
Open your lines to communication. Have an open and honest conversation with the child about his academic performance. Ask them: what are the challenges they are facing, which subjects and materials prove to be difficult, what are their blockers, and how can you possibly help them.
Analyze and understand the root cause. Before implementing any discipline, try to understand the reasons behind the decline in academic performance. Sometimes we jump at the symptoms like not doing the homework, skipping classes, oversleeping, etc. Identify where all these symptoms are coming from to trim the problem at its roots.
Set realistic expectations. Sometimes we take too much pride in our children we forget how fragile and underdeveloped they are. In so forgetting, we push them to the edge and they struggle at the top of the cliff. We want the best for them but we may unconsciously put extra pressure to their already heavy workload. As a parent, ensure that your expectations are realistic and age-appropriate.
Harness a positive learning environment. Ensure that the child has a conducive and quiet place to study. Encourage your children to set goals, manage time effectively, and be accountable for their academic performance. Provide support and assistance as needed. Your children need to learn independence but they should also know that they can run to you if the situation warrants it.
Be consistent. If something is not allowed, it is not allowed. Do not confuse your children or give them a reason to question your commitment or authority.
Establish a routine. Help the child establish a consistent and structured routine for studying and completing homework. The ability to predict what they need to do and where they’re supposed to be lessens anxiety and creates a safe mental space for our kids. Ensuring a dedicated study time each day can contribute to better academic performance.
Remember, nobody said that parenting is easy. One parent can easily lose his cool given the rise in tuition fees and then you see your child performing poorly at school. And while we obviously want our children to have impeccable grades, the goal here is more about making them realize their character and their future. As a parent, discipline should be constructive yet should also provide room for love of learning, resilience, and self-motivation.
Discipline should aid the child develop his own skills and habits necessary for academic success.