Discipline as a Parent to Child Interaction

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Mother and son arm wrestling.In a news article, a father punishes his son. Another article comes up, describing a mother curbing her daughter’s bullying ways. Yet another article pops forward, because a parent is correcting the egregious behavior of a child. These articles abound daily, detailing funny, hilarious, often eye-opening measures in which parents are learning to discipline through social media, with the help of local news stations.

The father’s son holds a poster declaring his wrongdoings, while detailing his punishment. The son wears a sullen frown, awaiting the hailstorm from social accounts, as well as his father’s rigorous penance. The mother’s daughter dons a dress from Good Will, her face petulant at being forced to wear a thrift store special. The mother uses her social media accounts to demonstrate to her daughter how she should respect the clothing of others.

As I flip through these articles, pictures, and comments from the peanut gallery, all I can think is, “When did discipline become a shame tactic?”

What is discipline?

Discipline is described as a way of training people to obey rules and codes of behavior by correcting disobedience. For parents, it is a way of teaching our children what is acceptable within the home environment, within social interactions, play groups, and the confines of a school building. Children need to be taught how to understand their actions, and how their actions affect other people. The focus of a discipline strategy should be to guide the understanding of treating others with respect. It promotes new ideas for the child to act in an appropriate manner.

Discipline is meant to be a learning experience when a child deters from the rules, or guidelines set in place by the parent. Therefore, if an object is removed, if a time out incurs, or if a consequence happens, the child needs to be prompted into thinking about what behavior caused the discipline, why the discipline occurred, what was learned from the experience, and how change can occur for the future.

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