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Our latest blog posts, written by the Wilson Centre experts on various topics surrounding child development.

Discipline with Love

16th September 2018

It should come as no surprise, that the way we discipline our children has a long term effect on their self-esteem*.

The 21st century has observed a drastic change in parenting styles, discipline has become a negotiation process as opposed to an oppressive, often violent regime, that was once common practice. We are now seeing parents who are lost on how to strike a balance between valuing their child’s opinions/emotions whilst maintaining control over the running of a household.

‘Discipline with love’ is a shift in paradigm from traditional methods of discipline whilst still maintaining control. Discipline should not be seen as punishment, instead it should be a continual process of teaching with unconditional love. Here are three tips for striking a balance & disciplining with love:

1. Be a role model

As parents it is our job to set examples of desirable behaviour to our children. We can do this by being a role model- modelling positive behaviour. We set the examples that our children internalise and copy.

2. Set boundaries

It is important to not only set boundaries but also to stick to them. Culturally, over the last 20 years we have seen a shift in parenting styles, to the point where some households are valuing a child’s opinion as an equal to the adults’s opinion. Consequently, we have seen a rise in anxiety disorders in children & teens. Having boundaries/a routine set by an adult makes a child feel secure and relaxed. Children without boundaries may feel insecure as they do not know where they stand. Setting healthy boundaries means you keep the control over situations whilst ensuring your child feels secure in themselves.

3. Reward good behaviour, ignore bad behaviour

Often it is easier to ignore good behaviour and hard to ignore bad behaviour, especially whilst in public! However, the key to behaviour training is to completely ignore any undesirable behaviour (as long as they are safe). All children have tantrums at some point, it is wise to completely ignore them- to walk away and continue as if nothing is happening. This teaches children that they will only receive attention when they are behaving in line with the boundaries you have set.

*Goodnow, J Jacqueline, J. (1994). Impact of parental discipline methods on the child’s internalization of values: A reconceptualization of current points of view.. Developmental Psychology. 30 (1), 4-19.

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