Disciplining Kids is Pretty Easy and Vitally Important – So Why is Discipline a Dirty Word?

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A national newspaper article, claiming that adults in schools (teachers) and homes (parents) aren’t disciplining kids struck me as so, so true!

The headline stated ‘The Death of Discipline’ and the article continued to say that adults, in schools and in homes, are failing to discipline kids for fear of causing them to be upset! Oh, boo hoo! That’s really pathetic — and enormously dangerous for kids’ well being and emotional development!

What is discipline then? I know what many people think discipline consists of — bossing kids around, shouting at them, stopping them doing what they want to do. All in all they have a pretty negative view of discipline. How wrong they are…

If you look up the word ‘discipline’ in a dictionary you’ll see it defined as, ‘training that produces orderliness, obedience and self control’, ‘a system of rules’ and ‘the result of such training on order and conduct’.

The newspaper article claimed many parents won’t discipline their children for fear of appearing unfair or strict and also that approximately 25% of parents don’t use discipline at all as they’re so afraid of upsetting their offspring! About one third of parents admitted to being a pushover, allowing their children to have their own way.

It was also claimed that 55% of parents feared the lack of boundaries and discipline would lead to these undisciplined youngsters getting into trouble! Well, that’s pretty much guaranteed I would think and it’s down to luck if these kids manage to avoid getting into trouble.

It appears that on one hand there’s a major reluctance to discipline kids, but that’s coupled with a fear of the results created by a lack of discipline. Sorry folks, you can’t have it both ways, and discipline isn’t going to happen without some adult input! To get the good results you seem to want you have to be an active part of the process. None of it happens automatically — you actually have to do something to make it happen.

It seems that parents are being pretty pathetic and weak in an attempt to prevent their little darlings having their sensibilities damaged…

Oh, get a grip, please! Start acting like adults and do what adults are supposed to do!

It’s pretty much the same in schools… Teachers frequently aren’t prepared to enter the discipline arena.

All sorts of reasons are put forward for not disciplining the kids in their care. They say that the parents won’t like it… They say the other children won’t like it or will be frightened! What do they have to be frightened of? Nobody’s going to string kids up and whip them — are they? I shouldn’t think so! Teachers also say they haven’t the time to discipline kids. That’s a total cop out! Numerous other excuses (sorry, reasons!) are frequently offered!

So, what’s the real reason that teachers don’t discipline kids?

That’s simple. Teachers don’t know how to discipline kids! That’s the real reason. Most teachers simply don’t know how to manage kids’ behaviour or to prevent behaviour problems from occurring and escalating. They want to create and work in a disciplined, calm and structured environment but don’t know how to bring this about. Unfortunately, their lack of skill and knowledge creates the opposite, often chaotic environment — one that creates so much stress and misery.

Teachers are leaving the profession in droves, not finishing their teacher training or not pursuing a teaching job after completing their training and are citing kids behaving badly as the reason. Well, who goes to work to be abused, stressed and assaulted? Nobody in their right mind! Why should anyone put up with being treated so badly in their workplace?

Is there an answer that works? Absolutely there is. It really isn’t difficult to create a calm environment where children adhere to rules and normal levels of discipline. Using some pretty easy strategies that you can put in place and from which you can get good results straight away is the way forward. Anyone can do this… Take on board the strategies and you soon become confident and effective.

There’s no doubt that discipline is essential for kids’ to develop emotionally and socially. The appalling results when kids aren’t disciplined are evident across society and it’s not a pretty sight. Every adult has a responsibility and duty to provide kids with the structure and guidance (discipline?) that’s needed for them to be able to mature into confident, sociable and happy adults who are able to function successfully in their world.


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