Discipline is a gift to your child

Discipline is one of the most important gifts a parent can give to their child. The number one gift is love. While providing love to your child seems so simple, providing discipline can be complicated.

Discipline actually means “to teach.” The ultimate goal of disciplining your child is to instill a sense of self-discipline. Consider what your child will need to become the person you hope he or she will be. This guidance system will last their whole lifetime and will become a part of who he is. Discipline is different than punishment, which has a more negative connotation in our society as in “corporal punishment.”

First and foremost, discipline is based on a positive relationship with your child more so than using the “right techniques.” As the parent you know your child best. You are the expert on your child. Your child is secure in his/her relationship with you and you build your relationship through play. Your routines at home are responsive to your child’s individual development.

Here are some tips for discipline:

  • Be consistent
  • Tell your child specifically what to do, rather than what not to do
  • Catch your child being “good”
  • Create an environment for good behavior
  • Use nonverbal techniques –eye contact, gestures, shake your head
  • Be a role model
  • Listen actively (turn off or put away distractions)
  • Offer choices
  • Distract and divert your child’s attention
  • Allow children to experience natural consequences
  • Teach your child logical consequences
  • Try the “when/then” strategy (when we put away the toys then we can go outside)

Discipline or providing guidance is a developmental process that takes time to master for your child and you. Teaching your child at a young age is difficult, but essential to build a foundation for self-discipline. The guidance you give your child now will influence his/her actions in the future. To find out more, check out the variety of resources available at your library.


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Luanne Webb

Luanne Webb – Infant-Preschool Librarian. Through my programs I hope to spark children’s interest in reading and help them get ready for school. When I am not at the library, I enjoy researching my family’s history.

  • Jeri Eckhardt

    Great article, Luanne! Such an important topic. Thanks for sharing!