Assignment # 2
April 28, 2014
Discipline vs. Punishment
Child discipline is something that we have all experienced personally in different forms, seen used on others, and is also to some degree what many of us will go on to practice later in life with our own children. Each person has their own opinion on what discipline is and how it should be used on children. The Webster dictionary defines discipline as “training to ensure proper behavior: the practice or methods of teaching and enforcing acceptable patterns of behavior.” Nowhere in this definition does it condone physical punishment, or say you need to use harsh and malicious strategies to acquire the behavior you seek. Discipline of children should be used in a positive manner, to encourage appropriate conduct, rather than be used as reprimand and physical punishment, because discipline is meant to help teach and guide children to act properly in accordance with the rules. We all have our own definition of what discipline is and its appropriate use. “The word Discipline is derived from the word Disciple, which means the follower of a teacher”(Meyer). A teacher educates through examples and guidance rather than punishment. Modeling appropriate behaviors and enlightening children on natural consequences are lessons teachers will instill on their students. “We say we want to teach our children proper behavior and help them develop self-discipline. Yet instead, we have adopted strategies that are the direct opposite of teaching and instead are just clever guises of manipulation and control.” (Tsabary) Many people believe that the only way to get the response or action they expect from children is through physical discipline and threats. People who believe this to be the only answer are uneducated and inexperienced with disciplining children. Discipline, like guidance, should be predictable for children using undesirable behavior. Every action has a corresponding reaction or consequence. Knowing what consequence a child will receive if they hit or misbehave will help eliminate fear of the unknown as well as establish trust in the parent’s and/or authority figure, and they will know what their expectations are. “The American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement concerning discipline encouraged parents to adapt their discipline to the developmental capabilities of the child” (Evans, Savage, and Socolar). Remembering that children are capable of various understandings at different ages, and parents need to mirror their standards to the abilities of the child they are working with. The American Academy of Pediatrics reminds us that “parental expectations are higher for 3-year-olds compared with 1-year-olds. Perhaps the greater expectations lead to greater disappointment when expectations are not met and that translates into increased negativity towards the child.” While parents may feel distressed, disappointed and furious regarding a child’s behavior, it is important to refrain from reacting negatively towards their actions. Remembering that discipline is meant to lead children through positive guidance will help to raise well rounded and compliant children. Results from a study on parental discipline and affection and Children’s prosocial behavior proved that “the more positive the affect and discipline of the parent, the higher the prosocial behavior of the child: the more negative they are, the lower the child’s prosocial behavior” (Knafo and Plomin). As Knafo and Plomin studied children and their parents discipline techniques they noted the impact children’s parents had on their attitudes and approaches to life. Stating that “disciplinary practices that involve reasoning increase children’s awareness of the consequences of their behavior and are more likely to promote adaptive behavior” (Knafo and Plomin). When children are guided in fair and educational methods rather than negative and aggressive tendencies, you...
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