Often when discipline is mentioned it seems that the first thing that is thought of is punishment. A child does something that an adult feels is wrong and this needs to be punished so that the child has something bad to relate to whatever the child did. In this way it is believed that the child will not do the wrong again. This is assuming the child understood that this punishment is because of the wrongdoing.

If I remember correctly though, the word discipline comes from the word disciple which means teaching. In this respect it seems that using discipline is a way to get a child to stop and think about what happened and find the correct or better way to handle the situation. Many times it is great to talk with children before they do something that may be considered wrong. Schools often do this in elementary school when they talk about consideration for others, working things out, listening to others, cleaning up after themselves, and politeness. Just having a discussion or some questions to the child often tells whether they understand what they are suppose to do in every day or different situations. It also gives them attention and lets them know they are getting attention from their parents , or teachers, or even friends.

Before the discipline is needed it works well with children to tell them what they are doing right. Children deserve to be thanked when they help out or even do their chores. Even at the work place we are told to thank each other and these are adults. It is my opinion that children need this even more. It reinforces the behavior or tasks that are important and that help children get along in society. When children or really anyone knows the expectations that are they needs to follow it is easier for them to not make a mistake. Perhaps that is how doing something wrong should be looked at when it is the first time or maybe even the second time. That the child is going to receive a reminder of the correct way to do something or behave. Only when it becomes a repeated behavior should it turn into a time out or losing something as a consequence.

Discipline should be looked at as teaching. Whether that is stopping a child and talking about or showing the right way, asking a child if he/she understands what is expected, saying thank you to the child showing the child should use thank you to others. Again this needs to be noticed and reinforced to the child with praise. The more positive the situation the more a child wants to do it and will remember.

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Liz Cosline

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