What Is Discipline?

What is discipline? The word discipline comes from the Latin word disciplus, which means to teach and guide. Whatever discipline methods you choose for your family, keep in mind that its purpose is to teach your children behavior that will guide them towards success. 

Think of the discipline like this: 

A child is born at the beginning of the road. As the child grows, it is the parent’s job to build lines on both sides of the road, to create discipline through guidance. The lines represent expectations of how children should behave, family rules, spiritual and cultural beliefs, and everyday guidance. 

Children and adolescents will venture outside of the lines and break the rules. Discipline strategies are tools that parents can use to help steer their children back onto the road while reminding them of the rules. 

There are many things parents can do before the fact to increase the chance that their children will make good choices and decrease the opportunity for misbehavior. 

When children inevitably cross the boundaries of acceptable behavior, strategies can be used to bring children back to the road and to help them solve any problems they may have created during the misbehavior. Losing privileges, positive time outs, and restitution are some of the strategies that can be used. 


ChildBuilders. (2009). Parents under construction: Secondary curriculum. Houston, TX: ChildBuilders.

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