I get asked many times about disciplining kids. I hate the word “discipline”, because I believe kids do not need to be disciplined, they need to be loved and cared for, supported and encouraged. Discipline has nothing to do with being happy – not with being a happy kid and definitely not with being a happy parent. In fact, parents with discipline questions are unhappy and know their kids are unhappy too.
I guess most of the parents who ask me about discipline really mean they want to know how to help their kids behave in a way that will make life easier for them. After all, kids learn their behavior from the people around them. The challenge that people have with discipline is that instead of it being a method of guiding kids towards the desired behavior, it is used as a way to control them. But kids are very smart and when you use controlling methods to manipulate them, they quickly start using the same techniques to manipulate you, which is very annoying.
Essentially, external discipline comes from parents who perceive parenting as a power struggle and tackle it head on. Kids quickly adopt this view and develop nasty ways to regain control over their life and the relationship with their parents. Sometimes, kids even hurt themselves to get that control.
If you yell, they will throw temper tantrums, use bad language, scream and shout.
If you use your physical power on them and spank them, they will find a weakness you have (and they will, because they have many good senses to detect them) and use this to get what they want from you.
If you use time out or remove privileges and they do not understand it properly, they will do the same to you and keep you away from their life by hiding things or religiously seeking privacy.
How do most parents discipline their kids and how effective are the discipline methods?
A survey of 2,000 parents of kids between the ages of 2 to 11 (Determinants of Parental Discipline Practices: A National Sample From Primary Care Practices) has found that:
- 38% of parents use the same discipline methods their parents used
- 45% of parents use time out
- 42% of parents remove privileges
- 13% of parents yell
- 9% of parents spank
The shocking part of the research for me was that a third of the people surveyed thought their methods were ineffective.
So how do readers of Family Matters discipline their kids? Let’s have our own survey.
Parental Discipline Survey
Please select all the discipline methods you use with your kids (1-5) and indicate whether these are the same methods your parents used (6) and whether they are effective (7). If you do not discipline your kids at all, please tick 7 if this works for you and share your experiences with everyone below.
How do you discipline your kids?
Whatever your choices, please tell us more about your discipline style in the comment box below and whether you find it effective or not.
Happy parenting with easy discipline,