Category Archives: What Is Discipline?

Dialogue: The Heart of New School Parenting

Dialogue: The Heart of New School Parenting

Parent-child dialogue is the heart and soul of my New School approach to how to be a parent. The love a parent has for a child is expressed and embodied in how the parent communicates with the child, even when the child is a newborn. Obviously, dialogue entails listening as well as talking, and it includes all non-verbal communication as well. There are many skills involved in having a good dialogue, and as parents we are illustrating and teaching them to our children in everything we say and do.

In the New School approach to parenting, we recognize and accept the fact that control of children’s behavior is a delusion. We cannot control our children’s behavior. (See my “Volcano Theory.”) They have free will. We do not have a remote control to their brain. They are not robots or slaves. They talk to us when they want to talk, not necessarily when we want them to talk.

Consequently we are convinced that we are better off not even trying to control their behavior through the Old School use of power and control tactics, like our parents used (yelling, ordering, bossing, threatening, punishing, spanking, hitting, grounding, etc). We recognize these as invitations to trouble. We acknowledge that the best we can get from our children, and what we really want from them, is their cooperation, based on dialogue and agreements, rather than their obedience to rules that we impose. If they don’t want to talk, we realize we cannot force them to.

Influence Does Not Equal Control

In the New School approach to parenting, we acknowledge that while we have absolutely no control over our children’s behavior, but only over our own, we also acknowledge that we have tremendous influence on our children’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. We acknowledge that influence does not equal control. Continue reading

Discipline: What Is It?

Discipline: What Is It?

Disciplina, in its original Latin usage, means both “teaching and learning.” It’s an interesting word because it means that If there is teaching going on, then there is also learning going on. If someone is learning something, then someone or something (like life or personal experience) is teaching it.

“Discipline” Wrongly Means “Punishment”


Parents discipline children in order to teach them something specific, like right from wrong, good behavior from bad behavior, obedience, the importance of limits and self-control, and so on. Parents teach these things in many different ways. However, in our culture when parents say they are disciplining their children, or want to know how to discipline them, they almost universally use the term discipline to mean punishment as the means of teaching the intended lesson.

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