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Kaipātiki Parent Pack

All children need discipline – guidance to help them understand what is expected of them and to behave in a socially responsible way. It is an ongoing process of learning during growing-up years. Discipline is not the same thing as punishment. Punishment is about blaming and shaming – not about learning.

Positive discipline provides explanation and fair consequences for unacceptable behaviour. It notices and responds to acceptable behaviour. It is not constructive to criticise, shame or harm children when they make mistakes or do not follow fair rules. Discipline is about teaching what is expected of them. All too often children experience physical or emotional violence excused as discipline.

Good parenting involves effective discipline. It comes from the same source as the word “disciple” – a follower. Effective discipline is never abusive, cruel or violent. Children learn best by fair guidance, good examples, clear messages and patience, to allow and let them learn from their mistakes.

The following principles will help children learn how to behave well.

  1. Set the scene well. A warm and caring home where the child feels secure and loved is the environment that fosters good behaviour.
  2. Give lots of praise and say lots more positive than negative things – praise for getting it right is far more effective than criticism for getting it wrong.
  3. Talk with your children as much as you can and listen to what they say.
  4. Keep expectations realistic about what children can and can’t do – know what is normal for their age.
  5. Make it clear to children what you would like them to do and not do.
  6. Make limits clear but keep rules to a minimum.
  7. Don’t fret the small stuff – ignore minor transgressions or provocation.
  8. Be consistent in what you expect.
  9. Model the kind of behaviour you want your children to copy.
  10. Avoid physical punishment – it does not add anything constructive to discipline and carries many risks.
  11. Structure your child’s world to make it predictable, interesting and as free from frustration as possible.
  12. Children will behave better when their basic needs, such as for food, rest, stimulation and play are well met.

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