The ultimate goal of discipline is to teach your child how to regulate his own behaviour, make his own choices and exercise his own freedom in a responsible way.

Discipline begins at home.

Desirable behaviour should always be rewarded with praise, love and encouragement.

Undesirable behaviour should ideally be ignored or punished by taking time out in young children and by withdrawal of privileges in older children.

WHAT IS DISCIPLINE?
Discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour. The term is derived from the Latin word disciplina, meaning instruction or knowledge, which is in turn is a derivative of the Latin word discipulus, meaning disciple or learner (Concise Oxford Dictionary).

The aim of discipline is to set boundaries or limits. The young child continually tests the parent to determine where these boundaries are. If the child discovers that there are no boundaries then he will come to believe that he can get away with anything!
Boundaries are set through the medium of consequences. The consequence of good behaviour is reward while the consequence of bad behaviour is punishment.

Punishment does not imply the use of physical force. Physical punishment may seem to work in the short term but in the long term usually results in resentment and the use of physical force by the child in reacting to any form of punishment.

ASPECTS OF DISCIPLINE

  • The need to be your child’s friend should not overwhelm the need for maintaining boundaries.
  • Discipline applies as much to a child with developmental delay as to a normal child.
  • Avoid playing favourites with your children; the same rules apply to all!
  • Self-esteem is enhanced when a child receives praise for good behaviour.

DISCIPLINE AND MORALITY

Sex Education: The biology of sex must be taught hand in hand with moral attitudes and responsibilities related to sex. The expression of parents' love for each other plays an important role in this process.

Substance Abuse: Peer pressure is an important factor in promoting this practice. Mutual trust, a listening ear, parental example and a reasonable disciplinary code are the best tools available for dealing with this problem.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TODDLER

  • Self-centredness
  • Need to establish identity
  • Exploratory behaviour

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ADOLESCENT

  • Renewed sense of identity
  • Development of sexuality
  • Risk-taking behaviour
  • Questioning of authority

PARENTAL DO'S

  • LOVE from the heart, not the pocket
  • ENCOURAGE God-given talent
  • EXPRESS anger in plain but guarded tones
  • LISTEN carefully
  • SAY 'please', 'sorry' and 'I forgive you'
  • SHOW empathy

PARENTS SHOULD ALSO

  • BE CONSISTENT
    • Caregivers must follow the same rules
  • BE PATIENT
    • Count to ten before reacting
  • ALWAYS PRACTICE WHAT THEY PREACH
  • BE RESPECTFUL TO EACH OTHER
  • GIVE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

PARENTAL DONT'S

  • DON'T be judgmental
  • DON'T belittle
  • DON'T give useless threats
  • DON'T talk excessively to your child
  • DON'T pamper or indulge
  • DON'T saturate with excessive materialism
  • DON'T give extremes of love or control