Since the filming of the original course, a number of insights have emerged in neuroscience, especially regarding the role of play as well as a more precise understanding of feelings. We believe these added insights will be helpful to parents and teachers, and in addition, make their job of managing behaviour that much more natural, intuitive and even easier. As a result, Dr. Neufeld recorded a new edition of the Making Sense of Discipline course in early 2021. The revised course outline is below.

Dr. Neufeld speaks to the question of “what to do when …”, but does so in the context of the larger question of what is required for healthy development. Some of the prevailing discipline practices – like time-outs and consequences – are discussed from this perspective. Strategies are provided that are attachment-safe and developmentally friendly. The guidelines and principles apply to children of all ages.

Course Description

Most every parent and teacher wants to know what to do when ….. This tends to be the most pressing and universal issue in dealing with children. Finding the right answers to these questions becomes more challenging when parents and teachers are concerned about issues like attachment and healthy development and do not want their discipline methods to undermine or sabotage these processes. At the same time however there is the responsibility to teach the lessons that need to learned and to impose order when required.

This course speaks to the question of what to do when …, but does so in the larger context of what is required to raise children to their full potential as human beings. Some of the prevailing discipline practices - like time-outs and consequences - are discussed from this perspective. This course provides participants with the opportunity to develop a comprehensive approach to discipline with strategies that are attachment-safe and developmentally friendly.


This material is applicable to any venue involving children: home, school, playground, residential programs. As such, the material is suitable to parents of children of all ages as well as to teachers, principals, day-care providers, and early education providers.

Formats & Fees

The tuition fee for taking Making Sense of Discipline through continuing education is $150. This includes a virtual campus student pass of four months to access the videocourse material as well as other supporting materials. If a personal copy of the ORIGINAL EDITION of the DVD set is desired, the tuition fee is $200 (please note that the original edition DVD is the only option available - the new edition does not have an accompanying DVD).

The tuition fees for live courses arranged by individual Neufeld Course Facilitators or by other agencies are set independently and may differ from course to course.

SELF-PACED STUDY: To register for this course in the Self-Paced format, click on the Self-Paced Study registration box on the left hand side of this page. This course is available in the Self-Paced format at all times.

SCHEDULED ONLINE CLASS: We also periodically offer this course in a Scheduled Online format. If there is an upcoming Scheduled Online Class, it will be posted directly above the Self-Paced Study registration option.


Course objectives:

  • to apply developmental science to the arena of discipline
  • to enable parents and teachers to think critically regarding the current discipline practices
  • to provide a philosophy of discipline that is congruent with science and with the developmental needs of the child
  • to equip parents and teachers with the inner confidence to handle problem behaviour
  • to provide discipline strategies that are attachment-safe and developmental friendly
  • to provide special strategies for stuck kids who cannot benefit from normal discipline measures

Course Outline


Current approaches to discipline are deeply embedded in assumptions about human behaviour that originate over four hundred years ago and have since been thoroughly debunked. In this session, we put the topics of discipline and behaviour management into some historical perspective and reveal the flaws in approaches that ignore the role of attachment, instinct and emotion. In addition, we reveal the implications of thinking of discipline as 'teaching the child a lesson'. Fresh understandings of how the brain actually works helps to provide a foundation for an enlightened approach to managing a child's behaviour until they are capable of managing their own. Critical to any approach to discipline is to use practices that are developmentally appropriate, not only in terms of age but also in terms of readiness.


Every single child has the potential to be well-behaved quite spontaneously and from the inside out. The realization of this potential depends upon the development of six natural traits, none of which are genetic or learned. What these traits are and how they are developed, is the topic of this session. Surprisingly the keys to consistently good behaviour lie not in learning or discipline, but in right relationships and in healthy brain functioning. Taking a long view of discipline enables parents to provide the conditions that are conducive to healthy development. For teachers, understanding what traits are missing and why, provides much insight into how to compensate for developmental deficits. This session also helps to explain why some children have much more trouble behaving than other children.


In this session, we cover the territory of discipline by outlining four basic directions one can take in managing a child's behaviour, with three core practices involved in each of the four directions. Included in this session is a discussion of how best to manage incidents where troubling behaviour occurs, as well as practices that help children grow out of discipline problems. This session also includes strategies for compensating for immaturity or stuckness in a child. All twelve practices are not only effective when properly applied but also attachment friendly and developmentally safe.


Play is a powerful instrument in managing behaviour. Play not only changes the heart, but also preserves and develops a child's will as well as prepares the mind to become more informed by the outcomes of behaviour. When employed properly, play can be used as the default method of managing the behaviour of the immature. Play is especially important in pre-empting powerful instincts of resistance as well as managing difficult alpha instincts and attacking impulses. Since most troubling behaviour results from the failure to adapt to that which one cannot control, play also serves a significant role in fostering this adaptation.

© 2023 The Neufeld Institute