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 children
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