Discipline Or Punishment? Parenting Experts Explain | #parenting

This, on the other hand, is typically proactive—and can look like a lot of different behaviors and actions. “Discipline, which comes from the Latin root meaning ‘to teach,’ is the range of ways a parent can interact with their children so that they can understand what is expected of them, have tools for problem-solving and make good decisions about behavior,” says Pressman. 

And as Maguire notes, this is all about setting up a structure and context for your kid to succeed. Essentially, discipline starts before the “bad behavior” is even expressed: You want to explain to your kids what you expect of them, why you expect them to act this way, what the “real-life” consequences are if they don’t, and what sort of outcomes may be expected if the independent behavior is not met. 

“Discipline is a tool that enacts a set of guidelines that you’re using to learn lessons. Essentially it’s given your kids the tools they need to learn life lessons, self-monitor, self-regulate, and understand boundaries,” she says. 

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