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Your Children’s Future Depends On Discipline

One of the most controversial topics on parenting is about imposing discipline on a child. What, exactly, do we mean when we discipline a child? Will it matter to him if the parent disciplines him or not? Some believe that too much disciplining will create a person who will have so many hang-ups later in life, needing a therapist to function normally, and, thus, would impose little discipline. For others, they think that very little disciplining can lead to a person who knows no boundaries, posing a danger to society, and would tend to be very strict. This article will talk about disciplining a child, why it is important, and some tips on effective discipline.

What is discipline?

A lot of people equate discipline to punishment. When they hear of the word “discipline”, they think of spankings, time outs, grounding, and other actions penalizing wrongdoing. Yet, one must remember that the word “discipline” has the same root word as that of “disciple”. Both came from a Latin word meaning “pupil”. Thus, discipline really means to teach or to guide. Punishment may be a form of disciplining, but not the only one.

What are the effects of discipline?

Let us take the game of baseball. Supposing there are no rules in playing the game. There are no strike zones, no outs, or no way to keep scores. How fun will that be? The rules are imposed not to stifle the players but to make the game more enjoyable. Without the rules, players may not even have the motivation to hone their skills.

This is also true with discipline. By imposing rules and boundaries according to the child’s age, he can develop self-discipline, helping the child to grow up happy and well adjusted.

Some tips on effective discipline.

1. Rules must be clear to the child.

Going back to our example of the game of baseball, what if the batter does not understand why a certain pitch is called a ball, while another is called a strike. Without this understanding, the batter will swing his bat with every pitch, even if the ball is way above his head.

Rules that are vague to a child will only lead to frustration. Talk with your child when putting limits. Be sure that your child understands what is expected of him when a situation occurs.

2. Be consistent.

What if the distance between the first base and the home plate is varied every time a batter comes up to the plate? Worse, what if the base is moved while the player is running towards it?

By being consistent, a child learns that certain actions will result in a predictable consequence. The child will learn self-discipline, for he will know what actions to take, or not take, if he wants to have, or avoid, a certain outcome.

3. Provide positive feedback.

Actions that are rewarded get repeated. Unfortunately, there are some children who think that being noticed by a busy parent is a form of reward. The child may behave badly, even risking punishment, just to get the attention of his parent. Therefore, be sure to reward good behavior. A simple “thank you”, a kiss, or even a little smile may be enough feedback.

Remember, to discipline your child is to teach him how to grow up happy and secure. He will not see your disciplining as punishment; rather, he will look at it as a sign of love

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