Discipline Should Be Private
April 8, 2015|Posted in: Happy, Healthy, Smart Kids!
Every once in awhile as I scroll through my Facebook feed I cringe because I’ve happened upon a parent publicly shaming their child. There for all their friends to see is a mandate from their parents that they’re grounded for the next two weeks!
Imagine if you did something wrong at work and your boss announced it to everyone at a staff meeting, or sent everyone an office email detailing your indescretion. Most likely you would be embarrassed or angry at your boss. Almost certainly you would become focused on what your boss did wrong rather than on what you did wrong. Occasionally I even see friends or spouses publish one another’s indiscretions for others to read about!
Children react to public discipline the same way adults do. They feel bewildered, embarrassed, and shamed. Children live up to the labels we put in them. They may even rebel and choose the side of wrong to save face with their friends. They may try to convince their friends they chose to do wrong on purpose, “that their behavior wasn’t just a poor choice but rather that they purposefully choose to behave that way.” Those are definitely not the desired outcomes of discipline.
The goal in discipline should always be to correct a child’s behavior. We want them to behave appropriately. Therefore, the goal of discipline should be to create feelings of contriteness, repentance, and resolve to change their behavior for the good. Those are much healthier and more positive feelings.
A happy, self confident child who has self control is going to be a well behaved child. That is a powerful reason to make sure we always discipline our children in private. If we love them, we want to teach them to trust us and create in them a desire to please us.
Whether public discipline is administered over social media or simply in front of a child’s friends or in a public place it is always wrong and won’t produce the desired outcome. Discipline should always be private and respectful, with a goal of creating feelings of trust, while building the child’s self confidence and creating within them a desire to make right choices.