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The Known Discipline

John Holt’s “On Discipline” is a discussion about the Discipline of Superior Force which most people knew as the meaning of discipline. However, according to Holt, there are three disciplines that a child would experience while growing up: Disciplines of (1) Nature or Reality (do something right to get results wanted), (2) Culture (mimic adults), and (3) Superior Force (Fear and punishment). While there are three different disciplines, the third one is the most common form of discipline in households and in schools, or in places where the child will be.

To discipline your little ones is one of the toughest challenges of being a parent. It can frustrate, discourage, and humble you. When faced with the challenges of getting your toddler or preschooler to behave, you may look back on the gritty baby months and wonder why you ever thought feeding and sleeping dilemmas were so tough. Since we have the pleasure of two little ones, a two and a three year old, which are only 14 months apart, it has been fairly difficult for my wife and me. Don’t get me wrong, we got what we asked for; a boy and a girl, in that order, exactly how we wanted it.

We knew little about raising a baby, let alone two of them. Since they are only about a year apart, it has been challenging, especially since our little girl copies everything that her older brother does. The best kind of discipline that works with our two, is by leading by example and if needed by some form of punishment. Relating this to the article, this would be the combination of the three disciplines: Nature or Reality, Culture, and Superior Force. However, superior force should be rarely used, as Holt suggested “Only when it is necessary” (113).

My wife and I try really hard to lead by example everywhere we go and everything we do. We always try to interact with our kids, so that they feel as a part of us, so that they get the proud sense of doing exactly what we do. For example if one or both are finished eating, they actually enjoy and like to show, that they are able to put away their plates into the sink and dispose of any leftovers into the trash bin. If I need to repair something at home and get out my tools, my son gets his little plastic tools and pretends to be something as well.

Maybe we got lucky, but our two always want to show what they can do. Always when we want to do something for them, all we hear is “my turn, my turn”. Don’t get me wrong, we do see a difference between our boy and our girl. The boy is always more rebellious and louder, but overall we have two loving and well behaved kids. However there comes a time when even our two little angels do not feel like listening. That is when we have to resort to Superior Force, although we rarely do so.

In the article, Holt mentioned that some experts believed that punishing the child for obeying is a way of teaching him or her to understand the natural consequences of his or her acts (114). If they are not listening or paying attention, we use two types of discipline/punishment. One is depriving them of their favorite TV show (Little Einstein’s) and the other one is “Time Out”. Since both off our little ones really love going to the Children’s Museum, another effective one is telling them that we will be going there the next day if they are good and behave.

My wife recently found out that actually not really punishing them, but telling them that Mommy and Daddy are not happy or disappointed with them. I would not really say that our way of disciplining our children follows Holt’s “cause and effect” model, but it probably has some similarities here and there. Overall I think parents will try about anything, to help discipline/raise their children properly. It is very hard to generalize on how to discipline children, because every child is raised in a different environment and surrounding.

However, it is also believable that the discipline that we do to them will affect their social development. As Holt mentioned that the child would likely grow bitter out of the punishment imposed upon him or her (114). If we would use a harsh form of disciplining them, they would be a great chance of them growing bitter towards the parents. References Holt, John. (Year). On Discipline. Thinking About How we Learn. (pp. 110-114). Location: Publisher.

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