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© 1993, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Disipline is not the same as punishment. Disipline is not what you do to the child, but what you do with and for the child.

There is no magic formula that will answer all disciplinary questions. Nor is there one perfect way to discipline. No method is going to work with every child or in every situation. What we can do is to commit ourselves to a positive approach in our discipline...one that includes respect, clearly defined expectations, setting limits, and using reasonable consequences.

A positive approach to discipline helps adults and children work together rather than against each other. It preserves a child's dignity and self-esteem while encouraging cooperative, positive, and loving relationships. Learning to use positive discipline is based upon mutual respect and cooperation, which can have a powerful affect on helping a child develop confidence and a strong self image.

The purpose of positive discipline is to teach in such a way that children can develop their inner guidance system so they can function responsibly by themselves. Because adults won't always be around to tell children what to do, we must instill inner discipline and help children develop the ability to think, judge, and make decisions on their own. Youth need to learn self-discipline with little issues so they have the experience and confidence to deal with larger issues later on. This process takes time, but the end product is worth the investment!