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Four Smart and Healthy Ways to Discipline Kids Without Punishing Them!

As the staff of GIIS Montessori in Abu Dhabi, we have gained much knowledge through watching kids and adults work together in various settings. As a new parent, a timeout was recommended as a helpful technique to teach a child about actions and consequences. However, research on timeouts and punishment has suggested more effective substitutes in the last ten years.


Children experienced harsher punishment for misbehaviour than youngsters whose parents had the effort to model good behaviour and have conversations with them about it. Why do we punish our children? It is easy. We desire that they discern right from wrong. However, discipline doesn’t help kids learn right from wrong. We are aware that kids need to be motivated.


In actuality, kids ought to want to make moral decisions for themselves. They should use their moral courage and empathy to navigate the world and its issues. As parents, you cannot always be there to set these boundaries for your children since there are moments when it is difficult for us to tell what is right from wrong. 


Let us understand the top four decent ways to guide your children from the experience of the teachers from the Abu Dhabi school.


1-Addressing the underlying issue


Where did we ever obtain the insane notion that to improve a child’s performance, we must first make them feel worse? Consider the last time you experienced humiliation or unfair treatment. Did you feel like helping out or improving?


What does this imply for us as caregivers and parents? We frequently chastise or penalise children for making them responsible for their actions. Instead, we must hold them responsible for their behaviour, regardless of whether an authority figure is there.


We, as Abu Dhabi school teachers, accomplish two things: we discipline our children because we believe that they will become spoiled adults if we don’t. Punishment calls attention to the child’s specific behaviour and informs him that he will experience certain repercussions due to what he did. 


Instead, people focus on – 

  • What punishment he/she might get for disobeying rules? Instead of addressing the child’s behaviour towards others.
  • Overlooking the kid’s emotions that led to bad behaviour and not addressing the underlying issue.


2-Communication before correction: Make the transition from reactive to responsive parenting 


When we observe poor behaviour in our kids, we all yell at them. Since we are all human, it goes without saying that our emotions and moods change. As human as it is to yell, it doesn’t do much. In effect, it breaks off a communication channel between our kids and us. A parent once confessed to me that she would scream at her daughter, but when she watched her husband scream at the child, she saw it from a different angle and recognised how awful it felt. A slight but significant shift from reactive to responsive parenting is occasionally necessary. Share your feelings with others, and vice versa.


3- Make a designated area in the house where you and your child can go to relax like a Montessori environment


Yes, it is important to teach children about “space” and how to give themselves space when angry, but understand this: When a child is filled with strong emotions, forcing her to sit away from you teaches her nothing and prevents you from connecting and communicating. When you put your child in time out, you make them sit away from you for a set amount of time. Children cannot comprehend such powerful and perplexing feelings. They seek our assistance to complete that duty.


You could also try time-ins. Work on the problem together in a peaceful location. You can designate a location in the house where you and your child can go to unwind. Respect their choice if they don’t want to use that space. Look for approaches to solve the issue jointly.


Children in elementary and higher education environments like in an Abu Dhabi school comprehend this immediately after you explain how it functions and develop various coping mechanisms.


3- Practice role model behaviour – establish ground rules while being flexible, like the Abu Dhabi school staff


Children are likely to abide by rules they helped develop in the home with their parents. It certainly helps to establish ground rules as a family and to be flexible with them. Developing children’s self-esteem, empathy, and self-concepts is crucial since these traits will serve them well in the future.


We should tell you that developing these self-concepts is greatly helped by an environment like a Montessori classroom. Children as young as 3 and 4 can understand discipline in a Montessori  environment because they internalise it and appreciate its rhythm rather than it being pushed upon them.  


Be consistent in how you tackle these issues when working with your kids. Additionally, explain to them the value of mistakes in the learning process.


We have come to understand that acting entails recognising an issue’s external, surface-level elements as a parent and educator. Ignoring the underlying causes will not do anything well. 




Many international schools in India have adopted the Montessori curriculum since it is one of the finest ways to teach kids the three essential skills of reading, writing, and maths. That is because of how comprehensive and hands-on the Montessori technique is.


So, whether you are home or sending kids to Montessori, it’s a fantastic curriculum for kids to cultivate a passion for learning that will last the rest of their life! You can contact GIIS if you are looking for a reputed Montessori. 


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