Discipline vs. punishment

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Discipline vs. punishment

Discipline is not the same thing as punishment. Discipline is teaching. And the most important thing that you teach a child with the discipline that you give is self-discipline for the child so that whenever the child misbehaves and needs you to intervene, your goal is help your child get him or herself back under control so that they can think through why what they did was wrong and what they will do different and better the next time. And in order to be able to help get your child under control, sometimes you really have to pay attention to whether or not you are in control yourself because it´s tough. And you may need to take your own time out to get yourself under control before you can help your child work on learning how to calm himself down. And then, once they are calm, to really look at why is this wrong, what is a good way of handling this, so there are two steps. Self calming, regaining control and then understanding what was wrong and how to do it right.

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Joshua Sparrow, MD

Child Psychiatrist & Author brazeltontouchpoints.org

A child psychiatrist, Dr. Sparrow’s care in the 1990s for children hospitalized for severe psychiatric disturbances, often associated with physical and sexual abuse, and for developmental delays aggravated by social and economic deprivation, prompted his interest in community-based prevention and health promotion. At the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, his work focuses on cultural adaptations of family support programs, organizational professional development, and aligning systems of care with community strengths and priorities, and has included collaborative consultation with the Harlem Children's Zone and American Indian Early Head Start Programs, among many others. He has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on related topics and has consulted on media programming for children and parents, including PBS’s Frontlines and Discovery Kids. Co-author with Dr. T. Berry Brazelton of 8 books and the weekly New York Times Syndicated column, “Families Today,” Dr. Sparrow has also served as a contributing editor to Scholastic Services’ Parent and Child magazine. In 2006, he revised with Dr. Brazelton Touchpoints: Birth to Three, 2nd Edition and in 2010, co-edited Nurturing Children and Families: Building on the Legacy of T. B. Brazelton, a textbook on the ongoing generativeness of Brazelton’s seminal research in a wide range of fields. Dr. Sparrow has authored numerous other scholarly works, teaches and lectures nationally and internationally, and is frequently called upon for his expertise by national and international media. Prior to attending medical school, Dr. Sparrow worked for several years as a preschool teacher and journalist in New York City.

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