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Discipline means "to teach." Discipline is a type of training. Punishment is something altogether different. Punishment hurts. Punishment is connected to the idea that pain must be felt for learning to succeed. Punishment does teach but it teaches children the wrong things: how to lie, not get caught. It also teaches fear and disrespect for authority. In true discipline, parents teach their children a very important lesson: Actions have consequences. Choose an action, for good or for ill, and receive the consequence. Everyone is responsible for his or her actions and will be held accountable. Discipline requires a parent that consciously chooses to respond instead of react. Wise parents allow natural consequences to achieve its goal. Too much rough play with the dog or cat teaches an indelible lesson, naturally. When a child experiences the results of his or her own actions, they soon learn. This kind of teaching makes sense to a child. The child understands the cause and effect of such actions. The child learns how to be responsible and will base future decisions on past experience.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|