Why It is Important to Discipline Your Child

See how discipline teaches kids to become responsible adults

Hispanic father lecturing son
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Disciplining kids is very important to their physical and mental health. There are many ways to discipline kids and parents can choose from a variety of discipline strategies to help their children learn and grow. Discipline ensures that kids develop the six life skills necessary to become a healthy adult.

Sometimes parents feel guilty or worry their child will be mad at them if they discipline them.

Unfortunately, without age appropriate discipline, children don’t gain the skills they need later in life. It is important to be a parent to a child, rather than their friend.

A parent’s job is not to ensure their child has a happy childhood. Instead, a successful parent can have confidence that their child will be ready for adulthood. When children receive necessary discipline, they learn the skills necessary to be a responsible adult.

Discipline Helps Kids Manage Anxiety

Believe or not, kids don’t want to be in charge. They often test limits just to make sure that their caregivers will be able to keep them safe. When adults offer positive and negative consequences, it helps kids grow and learn.

Kids who have permissive parents sometimes feel anxiety because they are managing their own decisions. Kids know they aren’t able to make good choices and want to learn from adults. The lack of guidance and help tends to provoke a lot of feelings of anxiety.

Discipline Teaches How to Make Good Choices

Appropriate discipline teaches kids how to make good choices. For example, when a child loses his bicycle privileges for riding into the road, he learns how to safer choices the next time he rides his bicycle.

Healthy discipline provides kids with an opportunity to think about their behaviors and to recognize alternative solutions to problems.

Kids need to learn problem-solving skills so they can recognize the possible consequences of their actions.

It is important to distinguish the difference between consequences and punishments. When kids are disciplined with appropriate consequences they learn from their mistakes. Punishments however tend to teach kids that their parents are mean or they learn how to “not get caught” when they misbehave.

Discipline Teaches Kids to Manage Emotions

Discipline helps kids learn how to manage their emotions in positive ways. For example, when a child receives a time out after hitting his brother, he learns a valuable skill to help him manage his anger in the future. The goal is for him to eventually be able to take a time out on his own when he feels really upset.

Other discipline strategies, such as praise, can also teach kids how to deal with feelings. For example, saying to a child, “You are working so hard to build that tower even though it is really hard to do. Keep up the good work.” This can help motivate them to tolerate their frustration and to keep trying without giving up.

Ignoring is a great way to teach kids how to manage their frustration as well. When parents ignore temper tantrums, kids learn that this is not a good way to get what they want. Ignoring other behaviors, such as whining, also shows that these attention-seeking behaviors don’t work and they will need to find other ways to meet their needs when they are upset.

Discipline Keeps Kids Safe

The ultimate goal of discipline should be to keep kids safe. This includes major safety issues, such as looking both ways before crossing the road. There should be consequences for kids when they are not taking appropriate safety precautions.

Discipline should also address other health risks, such as preventing obesity. If you let kids eat whatever they want all the time, this would likely create some serious health risks because kids aren’t able to make healthy choices for themselves without adult guidance.

When parents use an authoritative approach and they tell kids the underlying reasons for rules, it can help kids learn to examine safety issues. For example, instead of simply saying, “Get down now,” when a kid is jumping on the bed, it can be helpful to let them know that it is a safety risk and they may get injured doing so. This teaches kids to look for potential safety risks in other situations.

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