We know that we constantly read body language and tone of voice to interpret what others think and feel. Let’s not forget to think about the actual words we use as well. Discipline language is the language of learning, compassion, and cooperation. Boundary setting language is also discipline language.
Now, punishment language has the intent to make the child feel bad. The mistaken belief is that by humiliating or shaming a child, they will actually perform better. Science has proven that this is false. Look at the language examples below and see where you fall; into discipline, boundary setting, or punishment language, or all three.
Discipline Language Examples
I feel upset when I see a mess. Can we work together to get this cleaned up?
Let’s discuss how we are going to get the chores done at our family meeting.
Bedtime is at 9:30. It’s time to turn out the light.
After the kitchen is cleaned, then I will make the dinner.
Boundaries Language Examples
Adults put boundaries around their own behavior; what they will or will not do in response to the child’s behavior.They are positive, pro-active and mutually respectful.They do not attempt to control others.
When you talk to me in a respectful tone, then I’ll listen.
I’ll drive you to your friends after your room is cleaned up.
I’ll wash your uniform if you put it in the laundry tonight.
I’m afraid I’m too busy to help right now. I can help in an hour.
Punishments and Rewards Language Examples.
If you don’t do what I say, I’m taking your phone away.
What a stupid thing to do. Don’t you ever think before you act?
I don’t care what you think. I’m the boss and you do what I say.
I’ll give you $10 for every “A” on your report card.
Your language has a profound impact on your children. Are you speaking to them in a way you would like to be spoken to? If not, why not?
©2013 Cynthia Klein has been a Certified Parent Educator since 1994. She works with dads, moms and organizations who want more cooperation, mutual respect and understanding between adults and children of all ages. Cynthia presents her expertise through speaking, webinars, and private parent coaching sessions. She is a member of the National Speakers Association and writes the Middle School Mom column for the magazine Parenting on the Peninsula. Contact Cynthia at bridges 2 understanding, bridges2understa.wpstagecoach.com or call 650. 341.0779.