Montessori approach to discipline

January 24, 2018

One of the most popular parenting workshops I offer is the one on discipline.
The word Discipline is tricky, some see it as negative and associate it with
punishment, “disciplinary action” others see it as I do, a gift, as in “he has self-
discipline”. I believe discipline is a gift we give our children.
There are 3 levels of obedience;
1. Before age 3 children only have the ability to obey if what is asked
happens to correspond with one of his/her vital urges. Therefore we
often use redirection.
2. Obedience, this happens when a child is capable of understanding
another person’s wishes and can express them in his/her own behavior.
3. Joyful Obedience, at this stage the child has internalized obedience. The
child sees clearly the value of what is being offered to him by authority
and rushes to obey. With this level comes a degree of self-respect which
allows the child to respect the rights and needs of others alongside
his/her own. The child is then able to learn and grow freely in the security
of community of respectful individuals.
Discipline tips for parents:
- Consider the emotional atmosphere of the child’s environment. This
could be home, car, grocery store, etc. Adults need to stay calm to create
a healthy emotional atmosphere.
- Prepare and plan; your child is smart but does not have the maturity yet
that you do. With this maturity you can plan and predict behaviors.
- Model appropriate behavior, there are many opportunities every day.
- Be consistent
- Follow Through
- Set clear boundaries; children feel safe and secure=happier/peaceful



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