Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What is Discipline?

If you look up the word 'discipline' in a dictionary (or more likely with an app) you'll find several definitions. One is "to teach", one is "to punish" (among others). What is our ultimate goal with our children? To teach them, or to punish them? To answer that let's look more into what it is to 'teach'. Often we confuse teaching as something we can do 'to' someone. "I'm going to teach Bug the... alphabet", for example. But my 'teaching' is no guarantee he will learn what I am presenting. What he learns is completely in his control. My part as 'teacher' is simply to facilitate his learning, to provide an environment and material which allow him to learn. To teach is to work collaboratively with the learner. To punish is to do something 'to' someone. My Random House Webster's dictionary defines punish as "to subject to pain, loss, confinement, or death as a penalty for some offense or fault." Punishment is an attempt at behavior modification and control. An attempt because, like trying to actively teach someone, there is no guarantee the behavior will change in the way the punisher desires. Many defend spanking, time-out, loss of privileges, and other punishments as a way to teach their children important lessons. While these actions are a form of discipline, as defined above, they are NOT a form of teaching. They are attempts at behavior modification and control, nothing more. So back to our earlier question- Is our ultimate goal to facilitate our children's learning, or to control their behavior?See More

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