One of the hardest tasks we parents have to undertake is disciplining our children. Eventually our tiny ones learn that they are ‘separate’ from mother and have different feelings, wants and ideas from us and are ready to test us. Discipline is all about the consistent practice of clear, preset rules to help encourage responsible behavior, at home, at school and in the community.
Things to consider:
- Know your goal. Is it about punishment or teaching?
- Children learn more by what they see and experience than by what we say.
- Set a pattern for self-discipline that they can emulate.
- Repeated physical punishment does NOT work…it engenders hostility and rebellion.
- Physical punishment teaches children to hit, hurt others when they are frustrated or angry.
Does your child misbehave? [I know, silly question]
- Encourage them to share their problems…listen to their distress.
- Be firm but not dictatorial.
- Self-check…how do you feel about authority?
- Are you clear, firm, consistent, fair?
- Does your child show signs of being turned off to you, school, friends?
- Help your child take responsibility for his/her words and actions.
- Don’t overload them with responsibilities; be appropriate to age, ability, personality.
- Always begin with communication.
- Listen to their feelings.
- Be clear about your requirements of them.
- Remain calm (not easy) as it demonstrates good self-control.
- Don’t give mixed messages and practice what you preach.
- Be firm and consistent so your child knows what to anticipate as a result of behavior.
- Be a parent, not a friend…children need our guidance to develop their own beliefs.
- Let the ‘consequence’ fit the misbehavior. When related, it has more meaning.
- For young children, consequences need to be immediate and brief.
- Discipline is easier with a spoonful of love and praise, if honest and warranted.
- ENJOY your progeny and have FUN!