Module 7: Mindful Child Management
Module 7 is designed to help parents manage their child's
difficult behaviour. The module includes a description of specific
non-punitive child management techniques, and emphasizes the
importance of being in the right state of mind for discipline to be
fair and effective.
'Discipline' is distinguished from 'punishment' which is a coercive measure, often physical, aimed at achieving short-term compliance without consideration of the long-term consequences of the punishment for the child. We argue that that any disciplinary strategy should be avoided if it impacts negatively on the parent-child relationship and/or is detrimental to the emotional and moral development of the child. The extent to which any technique is non-punitive, will depend on the specific circumstances surrounding the use of the disciplinary technique-the age of the child, the level of force required to follow through with the disciplining strategy and, most importantly, the emotional state of the parent and child.
Importantly, the module does not simply present a number of possible disciple techniques. Rather the module encourages the parent to develop a disciplinary strategy. The disciplinary strategy includes consideration of the short- and long-term goals for disciplining a child (what form of discipline is most likely to lead to positive developmental outcomes for the child).
A disciplinary strategy is also about creating a favourable
family climate that lessens the likelihood of unacceptable
behaviour. The strategy means trying to understand why children
misbehave and, in fact, whether a certain behaviour is
To help parent be fair and consistent in their use of specific disciplinary techniques, they are asked to consider, whether, in certain situation the child's behaviour was unacceptable or simply, in that moment, exceeding their tolerance threshold.
The parents are helped to see the relevance of mindfulness skills to discipline. Specifically, in being mindful of their emotional state (and therefore their immediate tolerance threshold) and in using mindfulness skills (such as mindfulness of the breath) to create a small, but important shift towards greater emotional control when they are disciplining their child.
Gershoff, E. (2002). Corporal punishment by parents and associated child behaviors and experiences: A meta-analytic and theoretical review. Psychological Bulletin, 128(4), 539-579.