Punishment is a negative consequence of bad behavior that has already occurred. Discipline is a positive way to focus on future behavior.
Here are rules for loving discipline that many parents have found helpful:
• Change misbehavior by setting positive goals to strive for, rather than negative ones to avoid.
• Say what you mean and mean what you say. Children have an uncanny way of knowing the difference.
• Involve your children in solving problems to show you value their judgment.
• Talk less; do more.
• Ask what happened to cause a certain misbehavior. The cause may be very different from what you suspected.
• Make clear what you want from your children and praise them when they do it.
• Impose logical consequences for any misbehavior. Be sure the cause-and-effect link is clear.
• Give your children choices — but make sure you can live with them. If not, discuss the issue and explain why another choice might be better.
• Focus on what’s good about your children, and expect their very best.
And always show your love.