Discipline is often considered as the consequence for children after they break the rules. Yet, we should start by understanding the importance of discipline and setting rules, knowing that punishment is in fact the least significant part of the discipline.
Parents want to discipline children for their future healthy behavior. We all want the people around us to be well-behaved and to follow rules. However, have we really thought about the purpose we teach our children to have discipline?
Why do we want our children to clean their rooms after playing? Why do we want our children to brush their teeth before they go to bed? Why do we want our children to have manners and to be polite to visitors and elders? And why do we want our children not to hit others when they become angry?
Why do we want to discipline them?
Because discipline will help them to become good human beings, in our perspective. Because we understand that, one day, such behaviors can be beneficial for them.
Thus, parents want to discipline children effectively.
When you make your expectations clear from the time your children are toddlers, they internalize those expectations and begin to expect the same thing from themselves," says Sharon K. Hall, PhD, author of Raising Kids in the 21st Century
Discipline by definition is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience.
In today’s world, we think of discipline as a form of punishment for children if they disobey the rules. People establish rules to promote better individual behavior, which ultimately leads to public benefit. Let's think about a time when you were instructed to abide by a rule that didn't make much sense to you, did you follow it? But once you understood the reason and benefits of the rule, were you more willing to follow it then?
Oftentimes, parents focus so much on disciplining their children, but they forget that discipline is really the practice of training people to obey a rule that has a reason behind it. In a family, the reasons and the practices of training, will vary due to upholding different values in our societies. For example, in Asian Culture, holding back and sometimes putting someone else's interests before oneself is practicing good manners. In Western Culture, however, expressing and protecting one’s opinion is an exercise of a personal right. Many Asian parents teach their children to be quiet when elders are talking; on the other hand, a great number of Western parents encourage their children to voice their ideas in the discussion with respect.