Let’s begin with accepting the truth that ‘discipline’ isn’t the other word for punishment. The Latin origin of the word discipline is ‘to teach’. Disciplining your child means teaching them responsible behaviour and self-control. An undisciplined child is often an unpleasant company and finds it difficult to make friends, thus impacting their people skills and social life. Child behaviour experts believe that discipline is as vital for healthy child development as nutritious food, motor skills, cognitive and physical exercises, and other emotional needs. It is not only good for your children but also necessary for their happiness and overall well-being. Especially for school-age children, it is extremely crucial to learn how to manage their behaviour and regulate their negative impulses.

Without discipline, children lack the tools necessary to navigate relationships and challenges in life such as self-discipline, respect for others, and cooperation with peers.

Benefits of Disciplining Children

  • More likely to engage in positive behaviours that are beneficial for themselves as well as others
  • Disciplined children tend to be more confident, and have the drive to do well in life
  • Learn accountability and self-control early on in life
  • Learn social skills that are important for making friends such as empathy, patience, and knowing how to share
  • Their sense of entitlement is largely countered
  • More likely to understand what appropriate behaviour is
  • Respect their parents or other authority figures
  • Learn to accept instructions and behave like a team player

According to Dr. Himani Narula, developmental and behavioural paediatrician, director, and co-founder of Continua kids says, “shouting and physical violence can worsen the situation, and hence, it is important to talk and learn some positive strategies to discipline children. A positive disciplining strategy can help develop a positive relationship and set expectations based on the behavioural outcomes.”

Disciplining is built on talking and listening, therefore aims to achieve the following:

  • Educates the child on appropriate behaviour under different circumstances at home, school, a friend’s house, or in a public place
  • Teaches them to manage their behaviour and develop important social skills
  • Helps them understand, manage and express their feelings

Here is How to Discipline a Child

According to a study by UNICEF, Indian parents resort to shouting, pinching, denying food, hitting, or practising physical abuse as ways of disciplining their children. A vast majority of pediatricians in the US do not recommend physical punishment or corporal punishment and studies further corroborate the fact that corporal punishment can have deleterious side effects.

Duncan et al recently reviewed periodic surveys of members of the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) and noted that between 2003 and 2012, paediatricians had increased their discussions of discipline with parents. By 2012, more than half (51%) of the paediatricians surveyed responded that they discussed discipline in 75% to 100% of health supervision visits with parents of children ages 0 through 10 years.

Here are some tips from the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) and UNICEF on the best ways to help your child learn acceptable behaviour as they grow.

The AAP recommends positive discipline strategies that effectively teach children to manage their behaviour and keep parents from harm while promoting healthy development.

1. Plan one-on-one time

Quality time, more importantly, one-on-one time is crucial for building any good relationship with your child.“It can be 20 minutes a day. Or even 5 minutes. You can combine it with something like washing dishes together while you sing a song or chatting while you’re hanging out the washing,” says Professor Cluver. “What’s really important is that you focus on your child. So, you turn your TV off, you turn your phone off, you get to their level and it’s you and them.” Remember, the most powerful tool for effective discipline is attention. Every child craves their parent’s attention. It helps reinforce good behaviour and discourages bad behaviour.

 2. Catch them being good.

Parents are often quick to find faults in their children’s behaviour. Sometimes children may read this as a way to get your attention which in turn could lead to poor conduct. The truth is that the child thrives on praise as it makes him/her feel special and loved. When parents notice good behaviour and praise them for their efforts and accomplishments, for example, “Wow! You did a good job putting your toy away!”, it makes children happier and more disciplined.

  1. Set clear limits.

Setting limits teaches children self-discipline skills. If you say, “It’s time to stop watching the TV/tablet and do your homework,” you are teaching them self-discipline. Even though watching their favourite shows may be more fun, it’s important to teach them to be more responsible. Set clear and consistent rules that are age-appropriate.

  1. Explain the consequences. 

When your kid doesn’t behave, try explaining the consequences as a friend. For example, you could tell them that if they do not pick up their toys, you shall put them away for the rest of the day. The most important step in this process is to ‘stick to the threat.’ Do not give in by returning the toys when the child fails to follow the instruction immediately. Beware to not become over controlling or thoughtless in the process; never take away something your child truly needs, such as his/her food.

5.Hear them out.

Listening is an art and every parent must learn. If your child is narrating an incident from school, firstly do not interrupt them, secondly listen with total curiosity. Until the end, refrain from making any kind of judgemental remarks and try to analyse your childs’ thoughts or behaviour in certain circumstances.

Research states that listening to your kids makes it more likely that they listen to you. It also helps the child build a bond with you and develop trust in you.

6.Be open to accepting all kinds of behaviour

Rather than anticipating certain unacceptable situations you might find your child in, be open to making mistakes, understand where they are coming from, and guide accordingly. Children are not just in a bad mess but are also observant of handling themselves in such situations. They notice how well you approach and resolve such issues and learn to deal with them accordingly. Make them self-reliant, explain the consequences to some extent and do not force your fears on them. Instead, have a friendly and thoughtful conversation with them.

Children are indeed your reflections, and so is the environment they live in. The more discipline they see on a daily basis, they tend to mimic the same.

Role of School in Disciplining a Child

Children spend about one-third of their day at school. Their teachers, the peers, and school atmosphere play an influential role in shaping the young minds. A school which not only disciplines a child but is innately disciplined hugely impacts and eases their introduction to the discipline life.

Discipline in children aims to materialise a healthy attitude and a positive and mindful state-of-being.

Progressive school learning theory and educational philosophy is a strategy toward an enhanced disciplined life at school. Ekya Schools embodies the spirit of collaboration and togetherness while allowing the space for an individual to grow as a self-disciplined and self-reliant individual. The school aims to nurture the habits of mind and heart of young ones. Henceforth, educators, infrastructure and curriculum are consciously adopted. If you intend to forge your child into an empowered human being who strongly believes in making a positive difference in the world, join our community today.

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