Traditionally it is felt that if we want to have disciplined children then we must exert some kind of control over them so that in the end they bow to our superior strength and adopt our way of acting. We do not expect self - discipline to arise spontaneously in children – we tend to think it is something that we need to impose on a child. Of course if we set limits for desired behaviour and we make sure the child stays rigidly within these limits then what we will see superficially is a child that ‘does as he is told.’ But this is not self - discipline – this is the kind of discipline that disappears as soon as the adult exerting their will disappears. Maria Montessori hoped for so much more than this. .
Montessori said that if we want to help children develop into self disciplined adults then we need to provide the kind of environment that will help the child to create a strong will – when self control is born within the child and is not imposed externally it is a lasting discipline that will stay with him through his life. look at the traditional view of discipline and contrast it with the way in which self - discipline is developed according to the principles of Maria Montessori. It will be of interest to all who would like to understand more about the apparent Montessori contradiction that self - discipline can be nurtured by granting the child freedom. As Maria Montessori says:
“One of the greatest difficulties in securing discipline lies in the fact that it cannot be obtained simply with words... Discipline is therefore attained indirectly, that is, by developing activity in spontaneous work.
Everyone must learn how to control himself and how to engage in calm and silent activity, for no other purpose than that of keeping alive that inner flame on which life depends.”