Behavior & Discipline

Why is Behavior and Discipline Important?


Practicing consistent, positive discipline is one of the most important ways you can support your child’s healthy development. The goal of positive discipline is to guide your child to behave in socially acceptable ways. Positive discipline is crucial because it promotes your child’s self-control, teaches him/her to take responsibility for his/her actions, and helps him/her make thoughtful choices about how he/she treats himself/herself and others.

You can guide your child in many ways. You can model good behavior, encourage and support good behavior, and set consistent limits. As a parent, you model appropriate behavior in the way that you talk to and treat your child.

It’s also important to know how much you can expect from your child. Sometimes adult expectations exceed a child’s capability. Thus, the more you know about children’s developmental milestones, the better you’ll be able to guide your child successfully through life.

Once your child’s temperament is understood, it is important for you to be in tune with your own. Sometimes situations may arise when your child’s and your temperaments clash. Try to organize the environment so that “goodness of fit” happens when you set your child up for success by organizing the environment to fit his temperament. To achieve a good fit between you and your child, it is important to:

  • Be aware of your child’s temperament and respect his or her uniqueness.
  • Communicate with your child by making points clear and simple.
  • Listen to your child; hear his or her point of view.
  • Set limits to help your child develop self-control.
  • Be a good role model.

From AbilityPath

Atypical Behavior and Special Needs Children


Some children need extra support and guidance from their caregivers. Like children who are developing typically, children with special needs require guidance that is positive and respectful. Keep in mind that it may take time to understand your child’s unique needs with regard to discipline. With time and patience, you’ll begin to understand how to set boundaries for and support the needs of your child.

Children with Down Syndrome: Some children with Down syndrome tend to have short attention spans and are easily distracted. They may also have trouble with hearing or speech. These all can affect their behavior. Using positive reinforcement and modeling appropriate interactions are helpful methods to use. This is because children with Down syndrome seek out praise and encouragement from adults.

Children with Autism: Children with autism may struggle with social interactions. For example, they may be uncomfortable with physical contact, fear change, avoid eye contact, and have delays in language and communication skills. Make sure your child is aware of any changes that may occur during the day and talk through the fears your child may have. Being a positive and flexible parent will help both you and your child.

Children with Aggression: Children with anger and aggression may tend to be easily frustrated, destructive, or explosive. They may scream a lot, have quick changes in moods, and demand attention. If you see these behaviors in your child, you may want to consult with your family doctor. It is important for you to make it clear that hitting, kicking, and pushing will not be tolerated. Non-hurtful discipline, such as using time-outs, is considered by many to be effective. Keep time-outs short and be positive when they are over. Make sure to praise your child when he or she maintains control.

From AbilityPath

Links to Publications:


Addressing Behavior in IEPs: The mission of the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) is to support the efforts and initiatives of the Bureau of Special Education, and to build the capacity of local educational agencies to serve students who receive special education services.
Communication with the Corrections System: What Should Parents Know? If your child with mental health, behavioral, cognitive, or learning disabilities is referred to court, juvenile detention, or adult corrections, you can play a key role in making things go as smoothly as possible.
Planning for a School Meeting About Your Child’s Behavior Needs: Planning ahead for an individualized meeting about your child’s behavior needs will help you explain your own ideas about the best way to help your child in addition to listening to the ideas of others.
The Autism National Committee Report: How Safe Is The School House?: Updated Guide to State Restraint and Seclusion Laws, Regulations, Rules, and Policies in effect as of July 25, 2015. The brief executive summary at the beginning provides a quick bullet point overview of the information.
My State’s Seclusion and Restraint Laws: This report contains brief summaries of each state’s restraint and seclusion laws and policies for school. The report’s primary purpose is to enable people in a state to learn their state rules.
Understanding Behavioral Symptoms in Tourette Syndrome: TS is More than Tics: Tourette Syndrome and its related disorders can manifest as behaviors that often appear to be purposefully disruptive, attention seeking or manipulative. It is therefore not unusual to misinterpret symptoms of the disorder as behavioral problems.
School Discipline Policy Considerations in a SWIFT Framework: School discipline has been a contentious topic in the education field for years. Efforts to improve how schools and communities work together to address student discipline have shown the potential for creative and effective solutions that provide better outcomes for all.
School Climate and Discipline (FAQ PDF): This page of resources at the U.S. Department of Education is really a suite of resources that connects you with the latest data and thinking on suspension and expulsion of students from school. The basic message is “Rethinking Discipline” in order to create safe and positive school climates.
The Intersection of Substance Abuse, Disability, and Parenthood: Challenge and Response: Substance abuse is everywhere, and no one is immune to its effects. Some individuals, however, may be more susceptible than others; this includes people with developmental disabilities.