For young children, toddlers even, discipline is required. That is just a natural need. As a child grows, however, there can be a tricky or even grey areas in the discussion of “discipline” verses “self-discipline.” It is interesting sometimes to know that a child who has been allowed to “act any way” at home, will come to school and adopt appropriate behaviors and meet those standards in school simply to be accepted. And sometimes just the opposite is true.
Have you ever been in the store or a restaurant, where there is a baby crying without ceasing and parents go merrily along much to the irritation of others? What is that teaching the child? Have you seen toddlers allowed to scream without correction?
Have you been in a doctor’s office where children are allowed to run, romp and interfere with the normal business of the office? Discipline is required. It is the parent’s responsibility to provide his/her child with the tools that make them socially acceptable.
As a child grows, the decision making process is expressed through a child’s behavior. When told “No”, how does the child react? Does the child have tantrums? Does the child know when to be quiet and when to speak? How does the child act when being corrected? Does the child pout, sulk, or otherwise show displeasure?
All the answers to all the questions raised have to do with the child’s ability to know right from wrong and to act accordingly. Always it is the expectation that parents know and are attuned to right and wrong, to know and employ, rather than to ignore, appropriate disciplinary strategies and inappropriate, unacceptable behavior.
In the beginning for example in the early grades, students will be lead to sit, stand and be quiet. As they grow however, it is expected that they know and will comply. Can the child turn off bad behavior?
Parents really need to know and understand their children and to determine if they are engaged in helping the child to learn and achieve acceptable levels of achievement. No one can teach a child who is not emotionally developed and prepared to learn.