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  • Susan Fletcher, Ph.D.

How to Discipline Versus Punish to Parent In the Smart Zone


When developing your parenting philosophy it is important to ask yourself if you are responding to misbehavior to make yourself feel better, or if you are earnestly trying to create an opportunity for positive change for your child. Using punishment will create limitations. But if you follow the philosophy of discipline, you are more likely to see a positive, lasting improvement in your child's behavior. See what I have to say about it in my book Parenting in the Smart Zone and in this short video. Discipline vs. Punishment Punishment is: 1. Adult oriented. 2. Requires judgment. 3. Imposes power from outside. 4. Invites more conflict. 5. Focuses on “restricting” the child. 6. Concentrates on child “paying” for mistake. 7. Focuses on external control. 8. Expresses frustration. Discipline: 1. Shows children what they have done wrong. 2. Gives them ownership of the problem. 3. Gives them ways to solve the problem. 4. Leaves their dignity intact. 5. Uses logical and realistic consequences. 6. Teaches the benefit of making good decisions. 7. Teaches a life lesson. 8. Focuses on developing internal control. 9. Redirects children toward success. 10. Role-models good parenting skills. Give a hungry child a fish a day and the child will be fed for that day; teach the child how to fish and the child will be able to feed himself/herself for a lifetime.