Westerns Governors University
Effective Discipline without Physical Punishment
Contrary to what generations of parents have experienced in their own childhood, physical punishment is not an effective method to use when rearing children. Parents should become educated in other strategies that are non-physical and more effective in curbing misbehavior in children. Positive effective methods would include using timeouts, reasoning, logical consequences and reparation. In its most general sense, discipline refers to systematic instruction given to a disciple. To discipline means to instruct a person to follow a particular code of conduct, while the purpose of discipline is to develop and entrench desirable social habits in children. These habits are what will enable children to become productive members of society in adulthood. For children discipline is a set of rules, rewards and punishments to teach self-control. Punishments should never do physical, mental or emotional harm when dispensed. Kohn (2005) teaches us that when a major infraction occurs, parents should apply a consequence that has enough symbolic value that it convinces the child not to repeat the offense. Discipline is one of the most important elements in rearing children. The ultimate goal is to foster sound judgment and morals so the child will develop and maintain self-discipline throughout the rest of their life. Through proper discipline, children learn how to function in a family and society that is full of boundaries, rules, and laws by which we all must abide. Effective punishment can enable children to learn self-control and responsibility of their own behavior. Many experts, including The American Academy of Pediatrics [AAP] (1998) believe that effective punishment consists of both punitive and non-punitive methods, but does not involve any forms of physical punishment. The punishment set forth by the parents should be effective enough that it reduces the need for more punishment, and decrease the repeat of the offense. An imperative key we learn from Ross (1993) is that the focus be on the misbehavior and not on the punishment. The punishment set forth by the parent or guardian should change the misbehavior in the child, thereby decreasing the chance of any repeats of the misbehavior. A second key from Ross (1993) informs us that parents should keep in mind that part of reprimanding for misbehaving is also reminding children of what is behaving correctly. For the child to learn right from wrong, they need to be informed of what is right. This follow through is as important as the punishment. Building a Foundation
To build and maintain a foundation for discipline to become effective, parents will need an assortment of components. The AAP (1998) informs us that there are four key components needed that are essential. First needed is a loving and supportive relationship between the child and parent. Second is a positive proactive system to support desirable behaviors. Third, is a non-combative approach for dealing with the misbehavior. Last, is consistency, parents will need to be consistent in using disciplinary techniques on a regular basis. Should parents fail to discipline a misbehavior or fail to support a desirable behavior upon each occurrence, then the child can receive a mixed message on what is right or wrong. Each of these components relies on one another to become successful as a whole (AAP, 1998). Effective Discipline Methods
Respectful communication between the child and parent is another component. However, this behavior will need to be taught to children as explained by the AAP (1998). Parents can accomplish this by modeling respectful communication themselves. From a young age, the child will begin imitating those that are surrounding them. Thereby the parents modeling the behaviors they seek to have in their...