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Discipline: A Parent's Guide

Reprinted with permission of the National PTA -- 1993

To many people discipline means punishment. But, actually to discipline means to teach. Rather than punishment, discipline should be a positive way of helping and guiding children to achieve self-control.

'Rather than
punishment,
discipline
should be
a positive way
of helping and
guiding
children. . .'

Why children need discipline

  • You, as parents, are your child's first teachers. Disciplining your child may be difficult, so understanding the reasons for it is important.
  • For protection - - Often parents discipline children to protect them from danger. A parent may teach a young child not to touch the hot stove by removing her from danger while saying "No, no, stay away. The hot stove will burn you and it will hurt!"
  • To understand limits - - Discipline can help children understand limits and learn acceptable behavior. A 6-year-old learns to take turns in class because the teacher and students have set rules for how to behave.
  • To get along with others - - Discipline can help children learn to get along with others and develop self-control. A 12-year-old reminds her friend of a school rule that helps them both avoid a conflict.
  • The purpose of discipline, then, is to teach children acceptable behavior so that they will make wise decisions when dealing with problems

 

Discipline is not the same as punishment

  • Studies have shown that physical punishment, such as hitting and slapping and verbal abuse, are not effective. While such punishment may seem to get fast results, in the long term it is more harmful than helpful. Physical punishment can discourage and embarrass children and develop low self-esteem in them. Some experts argue that it also promotes physical aggression in children by showing them that violence is acceptable and that "might makes right."
  • Instead of using punishment to correct behavior, children need to learn what behavior is allowed and not allowed and why. Parents should stress dos rather than don'ts.
  • An example of positive discipline would be telling your son, "Please pick your clothes up off the floor because I have to vacuum in here," rather than saying something negative like, "Don't throw your clothes on the floor anymore!"

'Studies
have shown,
physical
punishments

- such as
hitting and
slapping
and verbal
abuse

- are NOT
EFFECTIVE.'

In school, as at home, the most effective rules are those decided upon by everyone:
students, teachers, administrators and parents-and enforced by all.

This page is made up of excerpts from http://www.pta.org/programs/docs/discipln.rtf found on the National PTA Web Site. The original contains more hints on responsible parenting.

Digital Archive of PSYCHOHISTORY Digital Archive of
PSYCHOHISTORY
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PTA
| Page originally created for the EastLake PTA |



Dr. Straus
new Research Is In !!!

Spanking by Parents and Subsequent Antisocial Behavior of Children
by: Murray A. Straus, PhD; David B. Sugarman, PhD; Jean Giles-Sims, PhD
in:Archives of Pediatrics & Adolecent med. - August 1997
"Peace in society depends upon peace in the family." -Augustine

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