Old & New School Parenting Methods

Old & New School Parenting Methods

Old School Parenting Methods

Here is a brief listing of some of the most popular methods that 99% of our parents (and eons of parents before them) used in order to bring us, as children, into line with their wishes and demands.

The goal of discipline in the Old School approach to parenting was, and still is, obedience. It features a heavy dose of punishment for disobedience, and this punishment is intended to “teach the child a lesson,” which can generally be interpreted to mean “scare the child into submission.” By inflicting some kind of pain or deprivation, the punishment is meant to deter child misbehavior and disobedience in the future. These methods focus on dealing with children on the corporal or physical level.

With the exception of physical punishment, these methods are not necessarily “wrong” or “bad,” but they are too often ineffective with strong-willed, autonomous, or rebellious children of all ages. Here’s a listing of the most common Old School methods or techniques.

  • Physical Punishment, such as spanking, whipping, switching, hitting with hand, belt, bat, broom, hot wheel tracks, or some other object. These techniques are always wrong.
  • Treat children as slaves by ordering them around, or as pets in the sense of “training” them to be obedient and do the right thing
  • Bossing, directing, ordering
  • Giving explanations (lectures)
  • Moralizing, preaching
  • Yelling, arguing, threatening
  • Grounding
  • Taking things away, like allowance, toys, candy, or privileges
  • Time-out
  • Imposing goals & expectations
  • Making decisions for kids
  • Guiding by giving solutions

Old School methods represent functioning on a more primitive, physical level that relies on physical discipline, even abuse, and also abusive verbal treatment of children. It is intended to teach right vs. wrong, and what should or should not be done, but it is based on instilling fear as the motivation for obedience. New School Parenting Methods

New School Parenting Methods

Here is a brief listing of New School parenting methods. They represent what we want to do different from what our parents did. The goal of discipline in the New School approach to parenting is child cooperation rather than obedience. These methods focus less on the physical level and more on the cognitive and communication levels.

They appeal to the child’s sense of fair play, ability to understand, and desire to be treated respectfully and to cooperate with parents to gain their parents’ approval.

  • No physical punishment
  • Treat child as an adult in the sense of being respectful, and not trying to boss them around
  • Listening better
  • Making requests instead of giving orders
  • Negotiating agreements
  • Teaching them  independence by giving lots of choices, tolerating mistakes
  • No yelling, arguing, or threats
  • Letting them make mistakes
  • Listening to kids’ motivations, inviting them to explain misbehaviors
  • Setting goals with child instead of for the child
  • Encouraging decision-making
  • Guiding by modeling, giving information

New School methods represent functioning at a higher level. They take place in the head (mind) instead of on the bodily level, engaging children in thought processes and verbal communication. This is a genuine teaching/learning process, which is what the Latin word “Disciplina” actually means. In this sense, children are “disciples” of the parents, who are the teachers.


3 Steps to Parent-Child Harmony is my book  that describes in detail the differences between the Old School Parenting model and the New School Parenting model.  Please see these links if you are interested in more information or wish to purchase.

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