Discipline vs. Punishment

Fact: You can't always be there when your children are faced with choices. Effective discipline will teach your children to internalize rules so they can make the right decisions on their own.

Fact: Punishment is defined as imposing external controls by force on children to change their behavior.

Additional information about discipline vs. punishment

Punishment has some immediate rewards, but they are offset by long term disadvantages which include:

  • Depends on having you or another authority present.
  • Teaches children to lie and sneak around behind your back in order to avoid punishment.
  • Teaches children what not to do, but not what to do.
  • Inhibits rather than promotes the learning process. Children can't learn while dealing with fear and humiliation.
  • Can actually encourage undesired behavior if misbehaving is being used to get parental attention.
  • May involve physical force (hitting, slapping, spanking) that can escalate into even more violence.
  • Leads to children using force to solve disagreements.
  • May lead to children seeking revenge.

Discipline: is a set of rules that govern a person's behavior and conduct. As an adult you have internalized these rules. For example, that's why you get up, fix your kids breakfast, and go to work when you would rather stay in bed. For your children to grow up to be successful adults, they need to internalize rules as well.

Effective Discipline:

  • Teaches your children what to do, not just what not to do
  • Teaches your children how to problem-solve to get their needs met
  • Teaches your children how to interact appropriately with adults and others
  • Promotes growth in the five areas of development (physical, intellectual, social, emotional and moral)
  • Enhances self concept
  • Helps your children internalize all of the above and allows them to become self disciplined