Parenting

Helping Your Children Develop Their Self-Discipline


We want our children to do the right thing, especially when they are out with their friends. We want to believe in them, but somehow, we don't feel certain that they would.

Have you ever asked yourself why you feel and act that way? Maybe the answer lies in the fact that, although you intend to, you rarely teach them how to develop their self-discipline. Or maybe it is because your parents never taught you how to develop yours.

Well, it's never too late to learn. Here are fourteen principles to set you on the right track:

1. Natural and logical consequences require children to be responsible for their own behavior.

2. Reward and punishment deny children the opportunity to make their own decisions and to be responsible for their own behavior.

3. Distinguish the differences between the punishment approach and the logical consequences approach to developing their self-discipline:

Punishment expresses the power of authority; logical consequences express the impersonal reality of the social order.

Punishment is rarely related to misbehavior; logical consequences are logically related to misbehavior.

Punishment focuses on what is past; logical consequences are concerned with present and future behavior.

Punishment tells children that they are bad; logical consequences imply no element of moral judgment.

Punishment is associated with a threat, either open or concealed; logical consequences are based on good will, not on retaliation.

Punishment demands obedience; logical consequences permit choices.

4. Natural consequences are those that permit children to learn from the natural order of the physical world.

5. Logical consequences are those that permit children to learn from the reality of the social order.

6. For consequences to be effective, children involved must see them as logical.

7. The purpose of using natural and logical consequences is to motivate children to make responsible decisions, not to force their submission.

8. Apply the logical consequences approach in the proper sequence:

Provide choices and accept the child's decision while using a friendly tone of voice that communicates your good will.

While following through, assure the child that he may try again later.

If the misbehavior is repeated, extend the time that must elapse before he may try again.

9. Consequences are effective only if you do not use the hidden motives of winning and controlling.

10. Be both firm and kind when correcting children's misbehavior. Firmness refers to your follow-through behavior; kindness refers to the manner in which you present them with choices.

11. Talk less, listen and act more. Lead them into the proper behavior by setting the example.

12. When you do things for children that they could do for themselves, you are robbing them of the opportunity for self-respect and responsibility.

13. Avoid fighting or quarreling; they indicate a lack of respect for the other person. Avoid giving in; it indicates disrespect for yourself.

14. Be patient! It takes time for natural and logical consequences to become effective.

Follow these principles and watch your relationship with your children and spouse improve, the self-discipline of your children increase, and, perhaps most importantly, your patience and love for them return.

Remember: When you maximize your potential, everyone wins. When you don't, we all lose.

Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in ezines, newsletters, and on web sites provided attribution is provided to the author, and it appears with the included copyright, resource box and live web site link. Although advance permission is not required, please notify us at eagibbs@ureach.com when you use this article.

Etienne A. Gibbs, MSW, Management Consultant and Trainer, conducts seminars, lectures, and writes articles on his theme: ... helping you maximize your potential. He offers management, marketing and parenting resources at http://www.maximizingyourpotential.blogspot.com


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