The world we live in today is a very competitive place. There is a constant competition going on to find jobs and move up the ladder of success. As human beings we are naturally devoted to instilling some kind of success in our children. To ensure that children are successful in life they need to be well disciplined but also socially and morally developed human beings. It is the parent’s duty to keep their children well disciplined along with giving them the opportunity to develop socially and morally. But how is it possible to approach this task correctly? Using proven methods of discipline through reasoning, positive and negative reinforcement, and observational learning one can effectively discipline their children without risking damage to the child’s social and moral development.
Research has shown that using reasoning as a method for discipline more often helps develop a child’s ability to conform to the standards of what is considered right or just behaviour. Discipline derives from the Latin word “disciplinare” meaning “to teach”. Thus, reasoning can be used as an effective tool to teach your children right from wrong. As opposed to the “We’re doing it this way because I say so method” through reasoning a parent is able to convey the importance of socially acceptable behaviour to the child. The main emphasis of reasoning is to provide your child with clear and straight forward guidelines of acceptable behaviour, to explain the consequences of good and bad behaviour and also to convey to your child why the consequences are necessary. 1 on 1 sit downs are important in helping your child to understand these concepts. A recent university study involving over 100 children and their parents showed that disciplining children in a highly authoritarian manner tended to stifle the children’s initiative, creativity and intellectual curiosity. This was in contrast to children whose parents relied primarily on reasoning and discussion in their disciplining. These children were found to be more adept at social skills, better at relating to others and problem solving.
Two of the best methods used for modifying your children’s behaviour are through positive and negative reinforcement. Unlike punishment, these two methods are safe and will not lead to aggressive behaviour in your children. The main idea of these methods is to shape your children’s behaviour through the use of consequences. Consequences can be effective tools in motivating human beings to behave. “A human being fashions his consequences as surely as he fashions his goods or dwellings. Nothing that he says, thinks or does is without consequence” (Norman Cousin). In psychological terms reinforcement can be defined as any event that strengthens the behaviour it follows. Both positive and negative reinforcement can strengthen behaviour where both punishment and extinction will weaken behaviour in your children.
Positive reinforcers are something like rewards. However, positive...