“Effective discipline begets better behavior,” is a quote I recently came across on one of my numerous social media pages. Though it clearly made sense to me, I still felt like it was an “unfinished” quote. It just seemed to need more. Perhaps it simply needs an explanation.
Since there was no explanation to be found, I decided to give it a shot and to come up with my own idea of what constitutes effective discipline.
So, with that being said, here is my take on “effective discipline:”
Effective discipline begins with a structured environment.
It can’t be chaotic, cluttered, loud, or disorganized. A calm, quiet, relaxed atmosphere that is also organized and clutter-free is a great place to start.
Effective discipline is consistent…and therefore predictable.
Consistent, predictable consequences are more effective than those that are not. Kids need consistency and predictability – unless, of course, parents are interested in dealing with a child that is constantly “testing the waters.”
Discipline should never be shameful or humiliating.
Shaming and/or humiliating your child will only exasperate the situation and make it worse. Such discipline can also be detrimental to a child’s dignity and self-esteem.
Effective discipline is brought about through effective communication.
Parents need to be clear about their expectations and should try to avoid any roadblocks that might hamper their communication. Some examples of roadblocks are: name-calling, criticizing, blaming, over-reacting, jumping to conclusions, assuming, and not allowing the child to speak (to name a few). Calm, matter-of-fact communication is most effective.
For discipline to be effective, the “penalty must fit the crime.”
Parents need to avoid over-reacting to minor transgressions and should take care not to dole out consequences “in the heat of the moment.” Sometimes it’s better to cool off first before administering the “punishment.”
And finally, discipline should be used to teach.
Children hear so often what they are NOT supposed to do but they rarely hear exactly what it is that they ARE supposed to do. Explain why certain behaviors are not appropriate or safe. It might also help to suggest alternative behaviors.
So, there you have it. The six short descriptions that define my idea of “effective discipline.”
If you are interested in becoming a more effective disciplinarian, then The Parent Coach Plan is something you should consider. It is a simple and effective in-home behavior program that promotes positive parenting. Maximize your effectiveness as a parent by incorporating this comprehensive program into your discipline regimen.
One final note.
As a parent, it’s easy to get discouraged when you feel as though you are following all of these guidelines – but to no avail. Sometimes, the best intended parents still struggle – even when the intentions and execution are both good. It happens to the best of us. Keep your head up and continue to do what you know is best for your child. Effective discipline is basically a game of trial and error – try not to let it get you down when things don’t go your way. You’ve got this!