- Never give a choice when it comes to limits.
- If you bargain for compliance now, you'll beg for it later.
- When children are well-trained, it’s habit-forming.
- Rules worth having, are worth enforcing.
- Behavior that needs to be learned, needs to be taught.
- Today's practice is tomorrow's performance.
- Independence isn’t “doing your own thing”; it’s doing what’s right on your own.
- Keep responsible decisions, in responsible hands.
- Discipline comes best from the heart, not the hand.
- Beware of self-indulgence, disguised as self-esteem.
- Prevention is the best solution.
- There is no great discipline, without great commitment.
Today’s discipline substitutes choices for limits. Parents say, “If you hit, you will sit” but that’s a choice. It says, “If you don’t mind sitting, then hitting is one of the things you can do to get your own way”.
Parents have been taught to get children to comply by offering rewards and threatening/giving consequences. This quickly leads to excessive bargaining and deal-making.
For adults, basic compliance is a habit. We stop at red lights because we always stop at red lights. Similarly, when children are well-trained, they pick up after themselves because they always do so, it’s a habit.
Rules must be enforced, but punishment is not the main tool for doing so. First, parents must present themselves as being in charge, then insist that children do what they are told to do, then punish if necessary.
Children learn appropriate behaviors through correction and positive practice, not consequences. Instead of using time-outs for rudeness, say, “We don’t speak that way in our home. Now start over.”
Sports skills are taught and practiced before a game so children will perform well during the game. Similarly, behavior skills have to be practiced ahead of time - i.e.: bedtime routines at 2:00 p.m., not at bedtime.
In real discipline, independence is more than just “doing whatever you fell like doing”. It’s the ability to do what’s right on your own - the ability to make the same decisions when you are unsupervised as you would have made if you were directly supervised.
Adults make choices for children because adults care about the outcomes of the choices. Children are ready to choose for themselves when they also care about the effect their choices have on themselves and others.
Positive relationships are important. They help children perceive that discipline is positive influence, not excessive control. Children learn that parents who discipline are parents who care.
Real self-esteem is built on genuine competence and positive relationships. It you try to build it separately, you end up with children who feel much better about themselves while they continue to misbehave.
Today’s popular discipline is reactive. Real discipline is preventative. Think about what to do before there is a problem, not after. When a problem does arise, create a structure that avoids future incidents.
It takes time to supervise, direct, teach, correct, and review. It takes time to build good habits and routines. There are no shortcuts to real discipline. Parents can’t expect great kids without putting in the time & effort.