Three Kinds of Discipline

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An Explanatory Synthesis Essay

Seldom do people recognize and consciously acknowledge that as children grow, they go through three different kinds of disciplines. What is usually known by many is the third kind of discipline that is the Discipline of Superior Force; while in fact the other two are in most cases often effective and prevalent.  Let me then expound not just on this discipline but on the three kinds of discipline, namely, Discipline of Nature, Discipline of Culture and Discipline of Superior Force.

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The Discipline of Nature is also called Discipline of Reality.  This kind of discipline is the very first way of how children since toddler learn how to do things right, recognize mistakes on what was done, and learn to correct it as observed how to do it right as observed in the experience. In the early stages of a child’s development, he or she already meets this kind of discipline every time he or she attempts to do something. The simple yet effective example given by Holt is that of a child who piles up a block on top of another to build a tower.  The observance that when the pile gets slanting the tower falls down and so from there he learns that the blocks should be piles up straightly so that the tower would not fall.  This is a simple example but it captures the very good way of learning through nature or reality.  This discipline is such a good teacher (Holt, no date). This does not require for punishment nor rewards for learning to take place.  In this type of discipline, the learner sees automatically the mistake and sees the answer to the question or correction to the mistake instantly by mere observation.  This is the kind of discipline that is common to all regardless of race, age, culture and gender (Batwara, 2009). I would say this kind of discipline is learning by experience.

The second discipline is the Discipline of Culture or of Society.  This is basically learning from what we observe that people in our surrounding do.  Since we are social beings, we live and grow not solely on our own but with the help of the people around her.  Because of our social being, we interact with the people around us.  Even as a child, a person looks up into the adults around her or him and learns from their ways and behavior.  The culture of the community where a child is raised is what he or she learns to adopt. The language, habits, customs, rules, music, and other practices as part of the culture of the community around a child are what he or she also acquires.  A child who is kind and courteous enough must have been raised as well by adults who possess the same qualities.  This kind of discipline varies among people in different places of the world, among different genders and among people of different age.

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The third discipline is the kind of discipline most people would refer when you ask them about how they discipline their children.  This is the Discipline of Superior Force.  In this kind of discipline, the concept of rewards and punishments are used. The consequences of the action if done are used as basis whether to learn or unlearn, or do or not to do a certain move or action. This type of discipline however in some cases especially when not used appropriately to the kind of attitude or learning style a child has, may result into some negative results. This is even perceived as the extreme discipline (Goldman, 2010).

To sum it up, in the Discipline of Nature or Reality, a person learns from his own doing or experience.  In the Discipline of Culture or Society, a person learns from what he observes on what is being done by the people around him or her and on what is happening in the environment.  In the Discipline of Superior Force, there is this external pressure or demand or condition that demands a person to learn something.  As people grow, all of these three kinds of discipline are experienced and all of these are vital in growing and developing holistically as a human and social being.

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Batwara, Ashish (2009). Three Kinds of Discipline. Retrieved from

Goldman, Jarrod (2010). John Holt Reading Response. Retrieved from 

Holt, John (no date). “Three Kinds of Discipline.” Retrieved from


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