Did You Know That Discipline And Punishment Are
NOT The Same Thing?
Discipline IS NOT Punishment. This statement is 100% true and there are studies and facts to prove. This statement causes some parents to cringe, but this is because they are reading the word discipline and confusing it with the word punishment. Punishment and discipline ARE NOT the same. They are actually polar opposites of one another.
What Is Punishment?
Punishment is anything that causes your child to feel blame, shame and/or pain stated by Jane Nelson of Positive Discipline . Parents are using punishment when they try to make their kids feel worse about the situation in hopes to make a change. News flash…this won’t work! This will actually make matters worse and the problem will grow and escalate, not diminish. Punishment occurs when parents take something away from their kids that didn’t relate to the crime and their child wasn’t made aware in advance what was going to happen. For example:
“You have been acting rude and back-talking, so you are not going to your friend’s party.”
What this does to your child is makes them feel over-powered and angry. This will cause them to act out more the next time due to the unfair punishment. This WILL NOT teach your child a positive lesson and will only be a short-term fix.
What Is Discipline?
Discipline, on the other hand, is defined as – To teach and train. This is very different from punishment. Discipline is a positive method and does not make our kids feel worse. Discipline is an opportunity for you to teach your kids a positive lesson in an effective manner. Positive discipline will have long-lasting results and help your child stop the behaviour long term. Let’s now look at an example of discipline. For example:
“If you continue to back-talk and speak rudely, then you won’t be able to attend your friend’s party. It’s up to you to choose whether or not you want to go, based on your behaviour.”
This choice was made known to your child in advance, giving him/her the opportunity to know that they had the choice to stop the behaviour or not. The key is to follow through if they choose to continue the negative behaviour and not allow them to attend the party. Have them phone their friend personally and let them know why they won’t be able to join. This is a real life lesson and one they won’t forget. It will have a lasting effect and as much as they might be upset, it will be fair. You were fair and didn’t elicit over-power or control over them, which is key!
Change Takes Time, Work and Commitment…
Punishment is an old-school parenting approach. It’s most likely how the majority of us were raised so, therefore it’s puts us in a tough place. It puts us in a place where we are forced to change the cycle. Easier said then done! The key to making changes is to remember that you’re going at a marathon pace and not a race pace. We start slow and steady. We make small changes and add more, as we feel ready. Begin with one small change/goal and move on, as you feel comfortable.
Change For You And Your Kids
Maybe you are currently a yeller. If so, I don’t want you to feel ashamed or be too hard on yourself. The important thing to remember is that we are all human. We all mistakes! Although, we can’t change the past, we CAN change the future. In order to help yourself begin making changes, it’s helpful to offer yourself reminders. Such as, sticking post-it notes around the house with a smiley faces on them to remind you to breathe and not yell. Tell your kids that you’re trying to change your yelling habit and ask them for help in offering you kind reminders if you start to yell. When you do accidentally yell, which you will as you try to break the habit, be sure to own up to your mistakes. Your kids will respect you for admitting to your faults and at that same time, it will teach them through example that mistakes are okay. Apologize for yelling and use those moments as opportunities for learning and growth.
“Discipline is what you do FOR your child.”
This is what we need to remember as parents. Kids need discipline to learn to be independent and responsible human beings. Therefore, when moments for discipline present themselves, our kids are counting on us to take the time to teach them the lesson. As parents, it’s important to have positive solutions in our back pocket to help us create a lasting lesson in the most effective manner. As a result, we need to avoid punishment in order for this to happen. I know right now, some of you may be saying,
“But what do you mean? How can I get my kids to understand what I mean and stop what they are doing if I don’t punish and yell at them? How will they ever learn a lesson?”
The answer to this is easy. Did you know that your kids will actually listen and learn more when you quiet down? The louder you are, the less they hear. The angrier you are, the less they respond. As a result, we need to work to be quiet and calm. We need to work to be FAIR, FIRM and CONSISTENT. It’s with these small changes in your parenting style you will begin to help your kids understand and learn in a positive manner. Many of our kid’s negative behaviours stem from our current parenting style. Therefore, if you can make a commitment to learn about positive solutions to create a positive parenting experience, you and your kids will be thanking you.
Consequently, you won’t regret learning how to discipline in a positive manner and help your kids grow to become all they can be! Fill up your parenting toolbox with positive tools so that you are equipped to cope with any situation that arises in a teachable way. Use positive solutions to have a positive parenting experience!
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