There tends to be an agreement by most parents that discipline in its more simplistic definition is highly desirable, but it is not so clear whether disciplining children is the best way to help them become more conscientious.
Numerous research papers seems to suggest that punishing children increases aggression and violence within them. Additional evidence also indicate that you acquire more influence with children when you give up trying to use power to control them.
Is it therefore not better that when having a choice between authoritarian control and permissiveness, adults should focus on building self-discipline through influence?
Authority can have multiple meanings, including that based on expertise, based on position or title, or even on power. Children especially, don’t respect power authority, even if they have to obey it, or whether it comes with the traditional reward-and-punish approach. Rewards and punishments are external controls; take away the control, and the behaviour modification disappears
Using rewards for behavior modification is difficult, given the need to reward consistently and almost instantaneously. If a reward seems too far removed in time, it will be less potent. In particular, you cannot prevent children from getting rewarded by others for unacceptable behavior
When children can acquire their own rewards, rewards no longer work for behaviour modification, as it have to be felt as attainable, or children will give up and stop striving
Did the above remind you of your own child, or that of a family friend in your neighbourhood. Are you concerned that you might be losing the war on self-discipline when it comes to children?
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