The word discipline in Latin means “to learn”. Discipline is not only good for children; it is necessary for their happiness and well-being. It means that you care enough about your child to help them know where the speed bumps are so they don't fall off the guardrails of life. Discipline is as vital for healthy child development as nutritious food, physical and cognitive exercises, love, and other basic needs. Without discipline, children lack the tools necessary to navigate relationships and challenges in life such as self-discipline, respect for others, and the ability to cooperate with peers.
Neeraj Sahu talks about imparting values through discipline to his child − “My child is very understanding. I feel that he learned that from us, my family is very concerned about behaviour towards our elders. He understands that and is disciplined.”
Watch | How to discipline your child
Many good families have lots of warmth and lots of good structure in their homes in the form of the house rules; the behaviour that is accepted in the family; the responsibilities - their homework or their chores that they are supposed to do. The key is to be consistent, follow through once you've set up those rules and limits, show respect, and remain calm.
Watch | Importance of a Routine
Deepak Sharma shares his tip on how he disciplines his children “Do not feed your children junk food when they throw a tantrum. This is a very bad habit and they will soon start to expect it every time they throw a tantrum.”
Disciplining your child is an important part of being a parent. It’s an opportunity to teach your child to take responsibility for their actions.
Structures of discipline is a very important part of creating a healthy team. Discipline is often equated with punishment and control. There is a great deal of controversy about the appropriate ways to discipline children, and parents are often confused about effective ways to set limits and instil self-control in their child. Discipline is about changing behaviour, not about punishing children.
Anita, the mother of a 4-Year-Old does this by planning a routine “I discipline my child through a fixed routine.”
Discipline and the subsequent structure it provides brings about stability and flow of guidance in their lives. This makes your relationship with them feel more secure. It instils in them the confidence and faith that you will be on the look-out for them, and not let them face any obstacles or hurdles that enter their life, by themselves.
You have to be the medium that regulates the decisions and choices the child chooses to make. They lack the emotional and mental maturity to think thoroughly about the repercussions of their actions. It falls to you to make sure that their actions don’t harm them, you, or other members of society. Failing to do this, makes you an irresponsible parent, and a member of society.
On your road to disciplining your child, remember to not go overboard and hit a wall in your connection with your child. Treat them fairly, as beings with feelings and the ability to have a thought-process. Treating them as inferior beings will not only hamper the message you were trying to send but will also be a road-block to all the other lessons you try to impart to them. Treat them like your peers and have a conversation like equals; listen to their ideas and learn how they perceive things.
An undisciplined child often finds themselves alienated and excluded from society and events. Fellow classmates and playmates may find them annoying and irritating owing to their lack of understanding of others and their feelings. Teachers and other authority figures find them to be a nuisance in the environment they currently are in; they think the child is being disrespectful and borderline rude. The child doesn’t have the potential to understand the mindset of others and how they perceive his/her actions. Not to mention that this would come and bite you back in forms of veiled criticisms and taunts by fellow parents and members of society that interact with your child.
Discipline should be inculcated from a very young age. Study shows that failure to discipline children often results in kids who are unhappy, angry, and even resentful. To those around them, a child who is not disciplined will be an unpleasant company, and a child without discipline may find it difficult to make friends.
Mrs. Gita Tuli, Principal of Saraswati Bal Mandir shares her insight on the matter – “It’s important for children to be raised in a routine time-bound environment to instil good behaviour, good habits and for them to be disciplined.”
Many parents try to make up excuses in their head on why they should avoid disciplining their child, or not be too harsh with them. This rationale is created with the motive of excusing oneself from the uncomfortable and inconvenient task of scolding and reprimanding the kids. Parents tend to be apprehensive about being too strict, as they feel that it might cause a rift between them and their child. Remember, a healthy relationship is only possible if you teach them the consequences of their mistakes and guide them in a direction where they do not commit such infractions again.
Exhaustion also plays a key role in turning a blind eye to your child’s unruly behaviour. As parents, we learn to conserve our energy and not waste any of it on redundant rebukes. It becomes a coping mechanism for us to think that the child will grow out of this kind of behaviour. The expectation is that they will learn on their own or from the environment around them without us having to expend our energy in a direct confrontation. If only it were this easy. The responsibility and burden might be tedious, but so is the final payoff when you see what a healthy and mature individual your child turns out to be. But yes, it will take quite a bit of elbow-grease indeed.