Disciplining children simply means imparting skill and knowledge on them. It is a form of teaching often equated with control and punishment. The aspect of child discipline and whose responsibility it is has been a matter of concern and at the end of this article, you will learn who is to blame whenever a child becomes disrespectful or develops unacceptable developmental behaviors.
According to Ami Morin, LCSW, “Discipline isn’t just about giving kid’s consequences. Instead, it ensures children are gaining the skills they need to become responsible adults”.
Despite all interventions aimed at correcting unacceptable behavior, the child should still know that he or she is loved and supported.
Discipline aims at fostering generally acceptable standards of behavior in children and to raise emotionally stable adults.
Role of Parents in Promoting Effective Discipline
Every responsible parent’s joy is to see a well raised child who is responsible and has moral values.
Parents are the first contact persons of a child and they spend almost the first two decades of their childhood lives with them. It is the parents who are responsible for giving first direction on what they want their child to be and hence they have influence on the final character of the child.
The following are some of the roles of parents in promoting discipline and various discipline methods at various stages of a child’s growth and development.
Infants (Birth – 12 Months)
At this stage, the infant’s life revolves around feeding, sleeping and to some extent, interaction with others.
Children are not able to think and reason and therefore child punishment at this stage is simply a waste of time.
The role of parents here is to provide friendly conditions and environments for a child’s development.
They should learn to tolerate frustrations and have the ability to soothe their children and make them develop positive child-parents connection.
2. Toddlers (1-3 years)
At this stage of life, there is struggle for independence and self-assertion. Toddlers tend to experiment with curiosity and are full of life. They tend to be emotional and are susceptible to frustrations.
The role of parents here is to learn the dynamics and patterns associated with their children and find best ways possible to handle them.
Parents should exercise a lot of patience and tolerance when teaching new skills to the child.
To ensure safety, discipline of toddlers is recommended in order to limit aggression and prevent unnecessary destructive behaviors.
3. Preschoolers (3–5 years)
Between three to five years, children can understand most of the instructions, become excited and start playing with others. At this age they like being in control and tend to be silly.
This is a critical stage in a child’s development and what they learn here is most likely to shape their future behavior and character.
As a parent, you should teach your child how to think ahead and let them be ready for pending changes. Effective communication is necessary as they tend to be reactive and can be totally out of control. Learn to motivate them by praising and approving good things they do.
Positive discipline for preschoolers include time-out, giving praises, giving rewards and ignoring mild misbehavior. According to Sumitha Bhandarkar on how to discipline a child, offer choices if possible as these tend to make them develop some sense of control.
4. School-Age Children (6- 12 years)
At this stage there is increased independence in children and they tend to be autonomous in their actions, have preference to their activities and even want to choose their friends.
Parents should continue to supervise, show direction and set consistent rules. However, they should not be too rigid and sometimes allow their children to be autonomous as this makes them be self reliable and responsible. Since children of this age lack capacity to make judgments and reason properly, parents should continue making decisions in all important decisions regarding their lives.
Parents need to moderately motivate them and encourage acceptable behavior and maturity growth. Teach your child problem solving techniques as this useful skill helps them learn self discipline.
Parents also have the responsibility of discussing with their children wide range of topics, listen to their views and explain to them the importance of doing things the right way.
Discipline techniques to be used here include time-outs and withdrawal of privileges.
5. Adolescents (13 years to 18 years)
This is the age of adolescence. Children at this point may be rebellious, withdrawn and starts challenging family values and rules. As a result, conflicts frequently arise between children and parents.
As a parent, this is the best way to show much love and support to your teen by being available, offering guidance and enforcing rules that make them not feel belittled.
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Discipline strategies for teens should take a different approach and a parent should avoid actions that can cause catastrophe like spanking. Focus on positive discipline and understand that this is just a developmental stage.
Role of Teachers in Disciplining a Child
Discipline forms a major component of education because it is the first step in creating conducive learning environment. Through their actions and reactions, teachers tend to convey to students their expectations for proper behavior in given situations.
Teachers have the responsibility to monitor, report the behavior of students and instill discipline where necessary. It is believed that a disciplined child tends to be responsible and performs well both in class and co-curricular activities.
They should also come up with clear guideline that covers best ways to discipline a child that will help promote their well being in the society.
Parents play a major role in disciplining a child and this is a task they should own up fully. As a parent you should learn how to discipline your child and maintain order in a family.
Parental discipline is a key factor in shaping the future of a child; it helps parents ensure that their children become respectful, self reliant and self-controlled. Schools, relatives, churches, and others can help, but the primary responsibility lies with parents.