SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – (Good Things Utah) What does discipline look like and what should it accomplish? What is the difference between discipline and punishment? Kyriaki Joy spoke about the differences today. 

“A lot of times we look at discipline as punishment,” she said, but instead it should be a way to train and guide children into regulating decisions to be better and more beneficial to themselves and society. 

A lot of the time parents don’t have a plan for what to do when things go wrong. Instead, punishments are motivated by emotion and are not carried out to their full extent. Going in with a plan allows for natural consequences to take control. 

For example, Joy explained, if a parent is consistently telling a child not to forget their lunch before school and the child ends up leaving it at home, instead of rushing in to save the day allowing natural consequences to take over.

A few hours on a hungry stomach is not detrimental to a child’s health, but the impacts will lead the child to learn not to forget their lunch. Letting natural consequences take over in these cases allows for a natural growing process to take place.

If natural consequences don’t work in a scenario and boundaries have to be created, Joy encouraged parents to be consistent and stick to the boundary. 

The goal of discipline should be based on the bigger picture. Ask who you want them to be? What lessons do I want them to have? Once these questions are answered, parenting becomes more consistent. 

A lot of the time, Joy explained, bad behaviors come from relationships. She cites an example of a child breaking their sibling’s toy. In order to fix the behavior, she recommends something that matches the behavior that was wrong. In this scenario, having the child who broke the toy pay for a new one for their sibling and write them an apology letter can be a great way to implement consequences that are consistent with their actions. 

Many times parents punish children in arbitrary ways such as time-out or taking toys away, and this creates a disconnect. It also implies to the child that there is something wrong with them, not with their behavior. This connected form of discipline allows for the consequences to be connected to their actions. 

Every failure is an opportunity to teach, Joy said. You’re on the same team. Subscribe to the Denmother podcast on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Spotify or anywhere you get your podcast. Find more information on her website. 

Instagram: @the_kyriaki