Effective Discipline for Children Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Discipline for Children

Understanding effective parental discipline, defined as social projection of parents' concepts onto their children, their impact and hence its development in the children's mind, comes under a number of mechanisms and paradigms of research literature. They range from learning theories, morality theories, and parental styles of social delivery to socio cultural cum environmental approach (Halpenny, et al., 2010).

According to Clinton and Sibcy (2006), it is deemed that children are emotionally sensitive parts of the society who need parents, care, leadership, love and nurturing from someone whose primary duty is to take care of the child. According to the authors, it is possible that some decisions undertaken by the guardians in the name of love may result into deteriorative outcomes detested by the children and may form a bad effect on their lives. Following is a table (p. 6) extracted from Clinton and Sibcy defining different traits of different parents with different school of thought:





See children as gifts

See children as fragile

See children as little versions of themselves

See children as possessions

Nurture kids to be unique

Nurture kids to be safe

Nurture kids to be perfect

Nurture kids to be entitled

Are respectful and supportive

Lack respect and are overly supportive

Lack respect for their child

Are overly supportive

Are kind and firm

Are kind, not firm

Are firm, not kind

Are kind, not firm

View mistakes as opportunities to learn

Allow no opportunity for mistakes

Allow no opportunity for mistakes

Believe mistakes do not matter

Give appropriate supervision

Give too much supervision

Give directions and commands

Give no supervision

Encourage feelings and teach empathy

Avoid unpleasant feelings

Do not encourage feelings

Believe feelings are everything

Teach living skills

Teach fearfulness

Teach driven-ness

Teach Laziness

Get into their child's world

Censor and pry into their child's world

Force their child to enter their world

Let their child rule the world

Teach balance of grace and biblical truth

Teach that the world is dangerous

Teach a theology of works and performance

Teach pride and selfishness

Understanding parental nurturing and discipline is important. Most of the information is extracted from social and learning theory, which is followed by the above table very well. According to this theory, in a wider perspective, children adopt the habits for which they are rewarded and leave the ones they are punished on. This depicts the pattern of socialization in context to parental guidance on behavior. The theory is aligned with the same instinct of the child's behavior development with what that behavior brings (Eisenberg and Valiente, 2002).

Domjan (2000) has evaluated considerable information about the behavior of a child in relation to a punishment. A child naturally avoids practicing behavior that results into punishment or at least lessens its frequency. However, it is of severe importance that the changes brought about by the acts of punishment deliver special projections on the behavior of a child. A child needs to be under constant supervision in these situations to narrow the behavioral track to the required behavior.

The widespread perspective of practicing punishments also causes an unlimited or uncontrollable level of punishments that may result into injuries or abuse rather than disciplinary action. This is due to the perception of punishment as the required element for a perfect child's behavior and socialization (Holden, 2002). Bandura (1986) suggests that social, cultural and environmental projections are the basis of behavioral patterns of the children.

It is the parents' responsibility and naturally the parents' or guardians' behavior that moulds child's mind. Children exhibit from their behavior what they have learned from their guardians and the society, along with the set of examples of practices that are punishable (Eisenberg and Valiente, 2002). Moreover, as suggested by Straus (1991), punishments of physical form if not supervised correctly bring a hard, aggressive and vigilant character in the children.

Undoubtedly, Punishments do not mean discipline. Nevertheless, the process of internalization is adopted by children to understand their parents' behavior, motives, and values (Grusec and Goodnow, 1994). Internal motivation and confidence is developed by mental projections of social behavior, as addressed by Hoffman (2000) in theory of moral internalization.

It is suggested that children interprets socialization through the encounters of discipline with the parents which invokes the process of internalization. The marks of this internalization are taken as child's interpretation of socialization and discipline is depicted by the behavioral traits of the child (Hoffman, 2000). Motivating and stimulating the process of internalization can bring ability for the child to understand social elements without pressures of punishments, which eliminates the need for external pressures through moral, emotional and logical negotiations and discussions. In addition to this, punishments happen to be either negatively impacting or do not impact at all Grusec and Goodnow (1994).

It is suggested by Smith et al. (2005) that pressure exceeding a moderate level can bring negative changes in character and behavioral traits of the children, thus, depriving them of motivation and deteriorating mental development, which is integral to internalization. Moreover, it disturbs the understanding between parents and children. On the contrary, it is suggested that low punishments can result into indifference as well. Similarly, it is claimed by Thompson and Kochanska (1997) that pressure, punishments and use of force develop nervousness, stress and lack of confidence in the child, hence, killing motivation and self-respect, and weakens parental message. It is concluded by different scholars that a combined strategy should be employed to ensure right proportion of induction and punishment for the children to seed internalization. This enhances discipline, compliance, good behavior and self-respect through proper internalization and socialization (Grusec and Goodnow, 1994).

According to the conceptual framework of Martin and Maccoby (1983) and Baumrind (1971 and 1991), parental behavior in children encountering have two different sides. One side depicts the inductive behavior of the parents focusing on warmth and emotions during the encounters, while the other side depicts the pressure side focusing on punishments during encounters.

authoritarian (higher-control level, lower-responsive levels);

authoritative (higher-control levels, higher-responsive levels);

permissive-neglectful (lower-control levels, lower-responsive levels);

permissive-indulgent (lower-control levels, higher-responsive levels).

Factors that influence effective discipline

Dr. Cloud documented a case study in his book revealing significant facts about parent-child encounters. Allison was a mother to fourteen-year-old Cameron, whom the doctor found to be cleaning Cameron's room. Dr. Cloud told Allison that it was sad to see Allison doing what Cameron should do herself. Allison showed connection to what Dr. had to say and replied with her concern for future of her son and his future family that she never thought about it. Dr. asked in his book to the parents who are practicing the same as Allison does about their concerns for the shaping of their children's future. Dr. claims that a person is destined with how he behaves (Cloud and Townsend, 2001).

According to Dr. Cloud character traits of a person, his abilities and capacities, morality and school of thought, socialization and relationships are the primary determinants of his destiny. To understand one's character it is important to assess personal traits, understanding about oneself, weaknesses, strengths, threats and talents. Parents can look into themselves and their child for the issues. They can remove their weaknesses that have been identified, enhancing their abilities already figured out, hence designing themselves and their child for the better destiny. The aim of every parent is to provide a path for their children, which leads them to their correct destiny and keep them aligned to this path (Cloud and Townsend, 2001).

The character development process requires understanding of three major elements that play considerable role. They are child's state of mind, parents' state of mind and interactive social variables. However, understanding the interaction of these variables is a tedious and complex task due to their nature and alignment of social and natural influences (Halpenny, et al., 2010).

Influence of child attributes

Parental attitudes have been discussed widely in past few decades. Nowadays, influence of children on their parents' behavior is studied, hence giving it a two way perspective or child effect (Bugental and Goodnow, 1998, p. 389). It was depicted by Holden et al. (1997) that how 3/4ths of the mothers claimed change in behaviors due to physical punishment to their children. This placed a definite projection on their minds, establishing relation of the punishment encounters with the characteristics of family and parents with their children.

Differentiating the study on respect of gender, it has been found that however the results are inconsistent (Woodward and Fergusson, 2002; Holden et al., 1997), male children are found to be more vulnerable to physical punishments rather girls, with harsh behavior and strict limits (Dietz, 2000 and Kanoy et al., 2003). A pattern of inconsistent results is achieved if studies of Ritchie (2002), Nobes et al., (1999) and Simons et al., (1991) are considered. Parents punished boys more often than girls, which ranged from strict extent of punishment for boys and rather warm…

Sources Used in Document:

Wissow, L.S. (2001) 'Ethnicity, income and parenting contexts of physical punishment in a national sample of families with young children', Child Maltreatment, Vol. 6, pp. 118-29.

Woodward, L.J. And Fergusson, D.M. (2002) 'Parent, child and contextual predictors of childhood physical punishment', Infant and Child Development, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 213-36.

Wolfner, G.D. And Gelles, R.J. (1993) 'A Profile of Violence towards Children: A National Study', Child Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 197-212.

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