The Fort Miles handbook on Military Discipline and Courtesy takes a light look on introducing discipline. Military discipline, as the average civilian or fresh recruit understands it, consists of harsh punishments or reprimands for violations of rules and regulations.
However, military discipline does not necessarily equate to punishment all the time. It means trainees learn to follow the rules and place the welfare of their unit or team above their personal welfare and security. The punishments act as negative reinforcement to effect changes in behavior.
Discipline in any context expects prompt obedience of subordinates. Similarly, trainees practice military discipline by obeying the orders of the commissioned officers and non-commissioned officers. At the same time, their officers encouraged them to avoid asking questions and simply obey.
Military discipline teaches that even when no one is around, trainees continue to carry out their orders to the very best of their abilities. This behavior emphasizes personal culpability in following through one’s duties.
If you have learned all these things, and prompt obedience becomes second nature to you, then you have acquired military discipline. It builds personal character that hinges on strong social values, such as honor, personal integrity and courage.
Military discipline is “a state of training, resulting in orderly conduct.” Military personnel achieve this state when they graduate from training. They bring this over to their years of service, and even when they retire. Most of the time, discipline cannot be separated from a person’s character.
Military discipline saves lives and wins battles. Chief Master Sergeant Loyd W. McBride quotes General George Patton in his article for Air University Review. The famous general told his commanders that if they did not enforce and maintain perfect discipline, then they were potential murderers.
When we apply these definitions of military discipline to disciplining troubled teens, we can see the benefits they can reap from developing the right amount of self-control. Self-control coupled with developing good strong values eliminates their self-destructive impulses.