What is Real Discipline?

"Real discipline" isn't some new theory. It simply refers to all the techniques that great parents and teachers use to teach children to be respectful, responsible and cooperative. The problem is that today's popular discipline uses different techniques. As a result, many children are becoming manipulative and defiant.

For the past 25 years, experts have told us that children should be allowed to make their own choices. They said this would raise their self-esteem and teach them responsibility. The role of adults was to use rewards to encourage good choices and consequences to discourage poor ones. It wasn't very long before adults found themselves bargaining and negotiating with children just to get a little cooperation. Now, we're beginning to realize that children, given freedom of choice, tend to make choices we can't live with. Far too many are choosing to underachieve in school, to engage in high-risk behaviors, to be non-contributors in their home and school environments, and to use violence and intimidation to take control. Clearly, today's popular discipline isn't doing the job it's supposed to do.

If you bargin for compliance now, you will beg for it later.
--- Secrets of Discipline

Real discipline does more than simply encourage good choices. It ensures that children are well-prepared for the choices that they are given. It gives adults the authority to make choices until their children are ready to make them on their own.

The easiest way to think about real discipline is to view it as having three parts.

The first part is called training. With these techniques, children are taught to comply with rules and limits and do what they are told to do by people in a legitimate position of authority.

The second part of real discipline is the teaching component in which we teach children the skills and attitudes for being responsible and cooperative. This part is also omitted from today's popular discipline which assumes that children will learn their skills from the consequences provided by adults.

The third part is called managing in which we provide children with more and more choices as they get older so they learn how to handle independence. Today's popular discipline concentrates on this part to the exclusion of the other components. What we have forgotten in our rush to provide children with freedom of choice is that adults are supposed to prepare children to handle choices and make sure they are ready. It is well-trained, well-taught children who handle choices responsibly and with respect for the rights and needs of others.

Now that you know what real discipline is, check out "Secrets of Discpline","With All Due Respect" and other material that will help you establish the right techniques for raising responsible children.