My contemplations, understanding and opinions about parenting, Positive Discipline, children, child development, psychology, spirituality, and everything in between! All of them are inspired from books and personal experience. I will try my best to quote sources wherever possible. I will be including a books section too. Happy musing!
Many people think discipline and punishment are the same. They are not. The words disciple and discipline, both originate from the Latin word "discipulus", which means "a follower of truth" / "to teach". So, true discipline happens as a consequence - it is to learn to discipline oneself.
When excessive control is used, children depend on an “external locus of control”. It is the adult’s responsibility to be constantly in charge of children’s behavior. In the case of rewards and punishment, which fall under the system of external locus of control, adults must “catch” the children being good to reward and “catch” the bad to give out punishment. Here, the adult is more responsible. What happens when the adult is not around? Whereas, if children depend on an “internal locus of control”, they are self-driven. They learn responsibility – a critical life skill.
So often we find controlling adults complaining about lack of responsibility in children. Permissiveness also teaches irresponsibility because here, both adults and children give up on responsibility.
Rudolf Dreikurs (child psychologist and educator) in his book “Children: The Challenge” says that children are more willing to follow rules which they help in forming. This way they become good decision makers, learn about mistakes and learning from mistakes, with a healthy sense of themselves. The big question though is – Are adults willing to let go of control? Are they willing to let go of the pressing need to be in control?
One of my favorite quotes from Jane Nelson is -"Where did we get the crazy idea that in order to make children do better, first we have to make them feel worse?" Encouragement is not just the act of giving someone support or hope, it can also be an act of trying to stimulate the development of a skill or quality. By encouraging children, we help them to have the courage to develop into the type of person they want to be, and to develop a belief in themselves, thus resulting in critical resiliency skills.
“A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water.” -Rudolf Dreikurs