The 11 Long-Term Benefits of Discipline for Kids

Discipline is a foundation for understanding consequences, making behavioral decisions, and establishing lasting personality traits.

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Despite its reputation for taking things away (namely toys, TV, and cookies), discipline can add a lot to your life — from the time you’re five until 75, or beyond. The end-goal of all parental discipline is to give kids the ability to self-discipline — in other words, to control their own behavior, thoughts, and emotions for the betterment of themselves and others. Traditional discipline lays the foundation for this by helping kids to understand consequences, make behavioral decisions, and establish lasting positive personality traits.

So the next time you think you’re just too tired to ask your little one to stop throwing their food on the floor or you can’t imagine repeating the golden rule for the millionth time, remember these, just a few of the long-term benefits your child will enjoy later in life thanks to some discipline now.

ALSO: The Biggest Lies Parents Tell Themselves About Discipline

1. Discipline allows you to achieve goals by weeding out the distractions in your life.
Research published in the Journal of Personality showed that self-control isn’t about deprivation, but actually about managing conflict and making decisions that align with your personal goals.

2. Discipline makes you feel good…
Ultimately, self-disciplined folks are proven to feel less stressed throughout their lives. According to another study, “feeling good rather than bad may be a core benefit of having good self-control.”

3. …And satisfied with your life.
Researchers found a strong connection between higher levels of self-control and life satisfaction in adults both currently and in the past. In short, the more control you have over yourself, the more you enjoy your life.

MORE: Discipline Strategies for Kids With Annoying Behaviors

4. Discipline creates good students — and lifelong learners.
Discipline makes for more intelligent and motivated students. Research shows that students who are highly self-disciplined may be able to better focus on long-term goals and make better choices related to academic engagement.

5. Discipline allows kids to be able to set, and achieve, goals better.
Trait self-control is positively related to affective management of goal conflict. That means that even when problems and obstacles arise, a disciplined person can get through it and reach their goals — with higher rates of fulfillment after.

6. Discipline gives you a more positive outlook.
Research shows that folks with high levels of self-control are more promotion-focused on acquiring positive gains — thereby facilitating more approach-oriented behaviors, instead of avoiding things.

7. Discipline helps you avoid temptations.
One study found that self-control helps people to achieve the things they find important in their lives by not being distracted by immediate pleasures and temptations. Scientists call this “effortful inhibition” — and it’s crucial to accomplish any and all long-term goals.

8. Discipline gives you grit.
According to a study in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “self-control and grit have become two of the most important variables that explain success in different aspects of people’s daily life.” Grit enhances the achievement of the goals that you have the discipline to pursue. Having the discipline to pursue your goals allows you to persevere through external obstacles that try to stop you from achieving them.

9. Discipline makes you more emotionally stable.
“Self-control promotes delayed gratification and directly influences thoughts, emotions, and impulses.” It’s that simple. Kids with poor self-control are more likely to display aggressive behavior, experience anxiety, and suffer from depression

10. Discipline keeps you healthy.
Kids who act on impulse instead of acting with discipline are more likely to become obese, smoke, and become dependent on alcohol or drugsSome research shows that impulsive children may even have shorter lifespans.

11. Discipline puts money in the bank.
Children who don’t learn self-control through discipline are more likely to commit crimes. On the flip side, children who display high levels of “effortful inhibition” have much higher chances to become wealthy.

Read more of Fatherly’s stories on discipline, behavior, and development.

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