With families spending so much time at home without the usual routines of school and work, the word ‘discipline’ has become a very one important for us all. When parents discipline children, they may often be ‘reacting’ in the moment to a particular behaviour with the belief that children need a ‘negative’ consequence or punishment to control/change that behaviour.

The SFSC parenting programme provides a process of positive and corrective discipline which is intended to teach rather than control children.This empowers parents to ‘respond’ to a child’s behaviour rather than ‘react’ and helps children choose to do the ‘right thing’. Positive discipline works by increasing children’s respectful behaviours, leaving less room for negative ones. Children who behave well, feel good about themselves and when we feel good about ourselves, we behave more positively. This positive cycle works for all members of the family, increasing self esteem: our ability to cope with whatever life throws at us- more important now than ever. 

The most powerful discipline tool parents have is: themselves. From birth, children learn by watching what their parents do.This is called ‘modeling’.From how to speak and walk as toddlers to core values like fairness, respect, honesty, responsibility and accountability; children learn by watching their parents. The SFSC parenting programme puts modeling as its number 1 step in the ‘process of discipline’. The impact of modeling is so important that it is considered repeatedly throughout the curriculum and parents are encouraged from the outset to understand its power by looking at their children to see how their behaviour is mirrored. This self reflection by parents asks them first to consider, ‘Is my child’s negative behaviour resulting from him copying my behaviour?’ This is not about parents blaming themselves (as children grow, they are not the only influencers in their lives), but parental modeling can teach or remind children how to do things in the ‘right’ way.

Parents who are mindful of what they are modeling can offer subtle teaching to their children on all behaviours. This really is about ‘actions being louder than words’

Parents might want to model clearer ‘schedules’ at home of learning/working, playing, exercising, relaxing, praying, chores, family time. This is a time when parents really can lead by example. Modeling can bring about positive changes without punishment, lecturing and stress and calmer, happier parents will model calmer, happier children.