Discipline is a concept which entails teaching your child the difference between right and wrong and also providing guidelines on how to behave both at home as well as outside. The suggestion is not that a rigid format be created where your child is afraid to express themselves or behave in a way outside of what they’re taught. However, socially acceptable behaviour is something a child should understand from a young age. What better way to do that than reinforce boundaries of discipline within the home, which your child can then apply when they are outside as well.
It is your job as a parent to ensure your child is self-reliant, exhibits a sense of self-control and is respectful to others. They should not be behaving as such out of fear of punishment on your part, rather, out of their own sense of right and wrong and concepts of good and bad behaviour. Not all behaviour should stem from threats of a punishment, instead, from an understanding the larger benefits of behaving a certain way. If followed consistently, your child will soon inculcate these habits into their routine, without needing prompting on your part.
One of the most straightforward ways of disciplining your child is rewarding good behaviour. By acknowledging that your child has done something good or behaved in a disciplined manner, you are inadvertently guiding them towards behaving more like that in the future. Outside of acknowledgement, it is also important to reward good behaviour. It could be a simple act of taking your child out for an ice cream or allowing them a little extra time on the computer. However, this is a balancing act; your child should not automatically assume rewards come with every act of good behaviour. Or else they will only act a certain way on promise of a reward or gift.
Another effective way to make your child understand the consequences of their misbehaviour is allowing for ‘natural consequences’ to take place. An example of this can be that you’ve warned your child to be careful with a toy. Rather than listening to you, they’ve managed to break their toy and are now upset. Without you having to lecture them, they have understood the consequences of their actions and no longer have a toy to play with.
There are many ways to maintain discipline at home and with your children. They cannot be distinguished as the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ methods. Parents need to try out each of these to see what works for them.