Three Categories of Discipline Essay

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Discipline is an essential component of every child’s developmental process. From birth, the primary deficiency of children is their lack of knowledge and understanding of the world. Contrary to the negative connotation of the word’s modern usage, “discipline” actually has origin in Latin meaning “to teach.” Therefore, discipline is simply the teaching of information that is necessary for children to be successful in their respective environments. In child development, discipline refers to the teaching of self-control and morals intended to foster sound reasoning and behavior. The response to inappropriate behavior through physical punishment is what gives discipline the negative connotation among many in contemporary society. Despite this preconceived notion, the enforcement of discipline is extremely diverse in nature. These various forms of discipline can be classified into three larger categories: power-assertion, love withdrawal, and induction.
The most controversial and publicized of these categories is power-assertion. Described initially almost forty year ago, power-assertion is defined as the discipline methods that assert parental power. This form of discipline uses control and manipulation, manifesting in many different forms. Though most commonly associated with violent force, this type of discipline also contains actions that restrain movement or dictate position by the use of physical coercion. The other side of power-assertion involves the use of explicit demands and intimidation such as, “Do it now!”, “Leave!”, and “Because I told you to!” Parental direction as to when or how to perform tasks is very rarely used, and instead the child’s behavior is expected. Also, since the parent needs to be pe...

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...e adult and role model, the parent must first show self-control before ever being able to teach it. The reinforcement or punishment must relate to the child’s actions and be of appropriate severity (positive or negative). Most important is consistency. Consistency is what adds structure to the discipline process, and thereby establishes clear boundaries for behavior. Without consistency, discipline is just an idea.

Works Cited

Hoffman, M. (2000). Empathy and Moral Development: Implications for Caring and Justice. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press .
Horton, N., Ray, G., & Cohen, R. (2001, June 01). Child Study Journal. Retrieved June 06, 2010, from Access My Library:
Segrin, C., & Flora, J. (2005). Family communication. New York: Routledge.

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