Child discipline is the basis for a positive and secure environment for development. Discipline and a clear daily routine give the children a sense of security.
When children feel safe, they will start experimenting and learning. If they do not feel safe, they might feel stressed. As explained in Effects of Divorce on Children, stressed children become dysfunctional, aggressive or even depressed.
Instead of punishing or correcting unwanted or unacceptable behaviour, it is better to reward the expected behaviour. Children growing up in a so called Learning Environment will find the reward from within. For example: if a child studies enough, it will get high grades and along the respect of his class mates, his teacher and his family members and most importantly he will find out it increases his perspectives. The child can be rewarded with the long wanted membership of his preferred basketball club if he performs well at school.
Children in a Performance Environment will receive an external reward, like a new iPod. Here, there is no long term relationship with the high grades and the reward. Next time, you will have to buy him another present. The key message here is that the child does not learn from receiving an iPod as a reward for his high grade.
If the rules are not respected, children must be corrected. You have 2 alternatives: punish the child or let the child face the natural consequences. Punishing children makes them aware of their disobedience, of course. However, usually there is no link between their behaviour and the punishment.
For example: Tim arrives at home late for dinner. You can punish him by reducing his weekly allowance. Studies have shown that this type of punishing does not change his behaviour in the long run, because he does not learn from it.
Alternatively, you can let him face the natural consequences: no food for Tim this evening.
The rule is clear: dinner is served at 19:00 hours for the whole family.
One of the important aspects of child discipline is the rulemaking as co-parents. For rule-making both communication and cooperation are important. Here you find the 11 steps for rule-making. Follow these 11 steps and your children have a good understanding of what kind of child discipline you as co-parents expect from the children:
Child discipline and rules will have to change as your children grow and change themselves. Make a planning to discuss the rules and childe discipline regularly and talk to the children about the rules if possible.