Recommended Reading from Mind Coach NOLA: Aim for Discipline, Not Punishment


Understanding the roots of negative behavior, and the neurological changes that cause it, are crucial to putting together a collaborative plan to address said behavior. Young people demonstrating aggressive, defiant, or oppositional behavior have brains that are in a constant state of alarm. Any form of punishment will not register in this state. Rather, finding a way to calm the brain and self-regulate the brain is crucial before implementing any type of discipline. Together with the child, explain how their brain is working (PFC, amygdala, etc.) and together discuss their emotional triggers and possible coping strategies. This process is both calming and empowering for the child rather than punitive. The article "Aiming for Discipline Instead of Punishment" at Edutopia goes on to give several examples of different options for discipline rather than simple knee-jerk punishment.

Discipline, unlike punishment, is proactive and begins before there are problems. It means seeing conflict as an opportunity to problem solve. Discipline provides guidance, focuses on prevention, enhances communication, models respect, and embraces natural consequences. It teaches fairness, responsibility, life skills, and problem solving.