Difference between discipline and punishment

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Difference between discipline and punishment

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There is a really big difference between discipline and punishment although a lot of people use the two terms interchangeably. Punishment, essentially, is a negative reaction to a negative or unwanted behavior. Discipline, on the other hand, is actually teaching a child or guiding a child to meet your expectations, to follow a certain kind of behavior that you want from them. A perfect example would be a child who has a very hard allowing you to speak with another adult. They want to interrupt. Punishment would say push them away or yell at them, whereas discipline would say bring them in on your team, bring them in on your side, encourage them to follow the directions by doing some run throughs, practice doing role play, tell them what the expectations are ahead of time. And then, start with short conversations with adults. Maybe have a child wait for a minute and then two minutes. Keep practicing it and use praise at the end and say see, I knew you could wait for me to finish my conversation. Now, how can I help you?

Watch Dana Entin, RN, MN, PNP's video on Difference between discipline and punishment...

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Dana Entin, RN, MN, PNP

Parent Educator

Dana is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who has been teaching parenting classes for the past 10 years. She understands that all families are unique, but believes that children thrive with healthy values, discipline, respect, and an environment where parents understand normal development and are open and excited about their role as a parent. Dana is a true advocate for children and parents alike. Today’s parents are inundated with blogs, books and boatloads of people telling them what to do.  Dana uses her advanced practice nursing background to help parents better understand research and information pertaining to parenting.

Dana has written many articles, lectures, and does private and small group consultations. She has completed a parent handbook on discipline and is currently working on a new book. 

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