Discipline is a word that everybody approaches with hesitation. The reason of this hesitation is that people understand discipline as strictness and not showing compassion. However, discipline is the tool to make children gain appropriate behaviors and decrease negative attitudes. Moreover, discipline is the way to show children a safe path with drawing borders. Unlike the general opinion, discipline is not strict and stiff attitudes towards the child. It is as important as love, to ensure them explore and learn the world safely.
What is discipline for children?
None of the children born knowing their boundaries, but it is obvious that we need to have limitations to build healthy relationships and safe environment. It is parent’s responsibility to teach children these boundaries and help them gain self-control, which is possible through discipline. Discipline draws lines that children need to learn the society rules, right behaviors, characteristics that they need to be a happy and sufficient individual in the society. When a loving and caring family environment accompany discipline, the ideal environment to shape a child’s characteristics in a positive way would be provided.
Punishment is not necessary to apply disciplinary rules. Listening and explaining help children to understand why the forbidden behavior is wrong, which attitude is appropriate in which situation, how to control their own behaviors and how to express their feelings.
Children who grow up in a control-free environment might feel insecure and lost. Children also raised with strict rules and too many limitations might grow up without developing self-respect and individuality. Therefore it is important for parents to find a discipline way which is appropriate to their values, limits and child’s characteristics.
Establishing few and reasonable rules, and following them in every situation makes it easier. It is significant to consider children’s need to explore and curiosity, and not create an environment that children are controlled and manipulated all the time. Children’s development level, what they can and can’t do, should be considered during building the rules. It is also significant that everybody in the house follows same rules.
When should discipline start?
Building limits starts from infancy. Babies biting their mother’s nipple shows that they are exploring limitations at that very young age. Mothers also should start building limits by not allowing them to bite. Babies and children naturally want to explore and expand their boundaries.
Children who grow up without rules and discipline feel lost, since they don’t know what is right and wrong. They need directions from trusted adults, otherwise they feel insecure.
Golden rule: Determination.
Children’s biggest talent is to understand parents’ uncertainty and use it. Children who finds out their parent’s uncertainty, would test the rules all the time. Therefore it is significant that children to understand rules are followed all the time and are close to change.