Can discipline be love?
I once read that ‘kids don’t need discipline, they only need love’. But what if I were to suggest that discipline IS love, if it’s done the right way?
Definition of discipline
Discipline comes from discipulus, the Latin word for pupil, and from the Latin word disciplina, meaning “instruction and training.” It is derived from the root word discere – “to learn”.
So let’s start from there. This means that we are the teacher, our kids are the pupils and it is therefore our responsibility to be good role models, to live by example and to SHOW our kids how to be happy, resourceful and respectful human beings. This makes parenting both difficult and easy.
Difficult, because our kids will copy everything we do and say, because we set the scene and teach them right from wrong. Easy, since all we need to do is to behave!
But let’s come back to the first thought that love IS discipline, if done the right way.
I support parents to be that role model, someone who can teach their kids to live a full, happy and independent life with more resilience and less fear. I support parents to create a style of discipline where the core is healthy connection and communication. Where the child feels respected and “worth” our discipline, where we send a signal that ‘I believe you can be the best version of yourself’, and, ‘you are worthy of my time and discipline – where I set fair and agreed rules, routines and responsibilities’
Discipline (if done the right way) is not harsh punishment, it is teaching the child which behaviours are OK and which aren’t. This leads to a mature, happy and independent life where the child is not afraid to try new things, makes healthy relationships, is helpful when needed and takes responsibility for their actions. Therefore, with the right methods, discipline can be a positive, loving experience.
My view is that healthy, positive discipline is all about guiding and redirecting your child with love, not fear. This will have positive long-term results, helping your child become a mature, independent, well-rounded adult.