That term again Discipline. It is a complex thing, experts in the subject agree to disagree on many aspects about the subjects. The truth is there can never be one way of doing Different parents from different backgrounds, with different personalities raising different children under different circumstances demands different ways and approaches.
I believe that at the center on these differences there must at least be some things that we agree on. The first step towards our common ground should be in understanding what discipline is, and what it is not. Secondly i believe we understand that kids are not the same, circumstances are different even the causes of behaviors are not the same.
Daniel J Siegel & Tina Payne Bryson in their book no drama discipline, allude that the word discipline, comes from the word discipleship which basically means the process of learning or teaching.
So what is discipline? Discipline is to study, learn, train, and apply a system of standards.
What isn’t discipline? Discipline is not rules, regulations, it is not about inflicting pain not about punishment, not about proofing a point of who is in control, it should purely be a learning moment.
During this process there are two people involved and they must be actively involved for the process to be successful, they are the teacher (parent) and a learner ( the child).
Create a conducive atmosphere for discipline.
For effective learning to take place the teacher and the learner( depending on age) should ensure that the environment is conducive for learning. The teacher must be in the right mind and state to teach and the learner must be in the right mind and space to comprehend.
Which simply means do not discipline while agitated angry and frustrated and do not discipline a child while they are defensive and frustrated.
So postpone it until you can both,be able to engage calmly. It is easier said than done but very doable. In most cases the likelihood is that when we see an uncalled-for behavior, we want to address it here and there, highly agitated and the child highly defensive because he feels attacked.
The results will be different if the two people involved can give themselves time to clam down, and come later to discuss the same subject and address the same behavior.
The first scenario will most likely end up in rebellion and feelings of disrespect, resentment , rebellion, detachment and tons of all other negative feelings, but the later scenario will produce the opposite results, the two involved will most likely feel heard, understood and respected. The second will most likely breeds deeper connection between the parent and the child. Under this atmosphere we can be sure that the teacher was able to deliver the message and the learner was able to comprehend. Mission accomplished.
Discipline produces better results in a peaceful and calm environment The two involved must be well regulated and calm. The learner and the teacher must be in the same team not against each other.
Balancing Authority with Love
In the parent child relationship the parent is an authoritative figure, S/he must provide leadership and direction. There are things s/he will permit and the are things that s/he will firmly have to stay NO to. As much as discipline does not mean punishment or inflicting pain, it also does not mean permissiveness.
Rev. Broekhuizen was quoted by James Dobson in his book raising boys that kids should know that ‘love can frown’. Kids should not be given an impression that loving them means agreeing to any and everything They must be made to understand that in loving them the best thing at times, is to say NO, the best thing might be to rebuke and correct them,
Kids especially boys need to be made to understand that they will be heard and understood, but parents are still responsible to guide and provide leadership.
Parents should also be careful not to abuse their authority. Authority should not be used to attack, oppress and shut down the little one. We are an authority because of the knowledge, experience and skills we have. These should be used to lovingly guide and nurture.
When disciplining boys especially, we should carefully note that if our discipline is going to be solemnly based on our authority and the fact that we are stronger and older than them, we are teaching them in a sense that the stronger, has the right to bully and oppress. This is most likely one of the sure ways Gender Based Violence is perpetuated within our communities.
Parents should find a way to display and model a nice and blended use of authority wrapped within love. Find a way to assert themselves without being oppressive..
Natural consequences teaches kids to link their choices with the possible consequences, they understand why they have to do something rather than doing it because mommy or daddy says so.
It helps kids to understand that there are natural outcome to every good or bad behaviour and this is not brought by, by the parent it is what it is, its natural. It’s a matter of reaping what you sow.
And parents should be firm and assertive in letting the natural consequences do their work unless it is a matter of life and death, do not bail him out from reaping the fruits of what he planted. Be there to love, support,guide and teach but do not bail out. Do not also blame, shame over emphasize, preach, lecture, the natural outcomes are good enough to teach lessons you might never be able to teach them through their childhood.
Examples of natural consequences: I remember this one clearly because I experienced it as a child. I used to lose my jerseys as child, I will go to school with a new jersey and lose it just like that, for most days mom was able to make a plan to bail me out. The following day I will be warm and well clothed again. One day I guess she had enough and it was time I face the natural consequences of not taking care of my Jerseys for about a week plus, it was either I face the cold or I face the punishment from teachers for wearing some colorful jersey that was not part of the uniform. I swear I never lost a jersey again.
Other examples of natural consequences could be, if you eat all your almost allocated snack for a day in the morning, you are going to have to face the entire day without a snack, if you leave your shoes outside they are going to get wet, if the lunchbox was made available and you forget at home you will go through the day on an empty stomach.
2. Logical Consequences
In the absence of natural consequences, logical consequences could apply. Logical consequences can be determined by a parent but they are most effective when they are pre determined by the parent and the child. The both can discuss what should be the consequence of not doing assigned chores or exceeding the allocated screen time or any other behavior that is less likely to have a natural consequence
If care is not taken parents can punish kids while thinking that they are applying logical consequences. Logical consequences should be Related to the behavior, It should be Respectful , should be Reasonable and Helpful.
No doubt discipline requires Courage and consistency. Courage in allowing the natural outcomes of the behavior to run their full course without bailing them out unless its life and death matter. And consistency in applying the agreed on logical consequences. Boys more than girls have natural tendencies to test boundaries and challenge authority, hence its important to daily be courageous and consistent.