Discipline “Dos” & “Don’ts”
Discipline is progressive and also a life time engagement. Children don’t naturally want to “misbehave.” Sure they’re wired to test a bit, but if they do it repeatedly it’s because they have been conditioned to or have not been taught how else to behave. Not listening is a normal part of a child’s typical development and there is always a reason why he is not listening; when you endeavour to understand the why of your child’s behaviour; then the solution to the problem will come into focus.
There is no one right way to discipline a child. Every parent knows his or her child best. Each child is different; each situation will therefore require a different response.
When you are set to discipline a child for a wrong doing, ask yourself: “Will my response (discipline) help this particular child to learn what is expected, the right thing to do, and how to do it?” When you have established these common grounds; now that’s a good place to start.
Let’s examine some Do’s and Don’ts to apply, in disciplining a child.
- (Don’t) Spank
Spanking may stop your child from doing something bad right now. But it doesn’t teach him how to behave in the long run. Kids who were spanked are more likely to get depressed and have anger problems later on.
What should you do? Ask yourself, do i want to teach my child that when he does something wrong he will be punished? Or do I want to teach him that there are alternatives to his behaviour and when he makes better choices, it will pay him off in the end; and that you are there to help him learn all the processes. Think about that.
- (Don’t) Yell
We often yell when we have reached our limits. This happens when a child is pushing every button you have (even some that you didn’t know you had) so your adrenalin pumps so hard. In this case, it can be difficult to keep cool. And yet, ‘this’ is essential to solving ‘the’ problem. If your adrenalin is pumping so hard, consider using a parent time-out-in which you step a way for a few minutes to clear your head so you can focus and deal with your child in a calm and positive manner. Again, if a situation has got to a point where it pushes you to your limits, then better approaches to tackling such a problem has long been neglected. Discipline is not achieved reactively but proactively.
Think about your child’s age and how mature she is when you’re setting limits. Good discipline entails that you are clear about what you expect from your child. It also means she understands what happens if she doesn’t follow the rules. Take a look at an example of ways to tackle a problem proactively.
Step 1: Forewarning: You say: “In ten minutes it is going to be time to stop watching Opera and get ready for lunch. This is your ten minute’s warning.”
Step 2: It’s Time: You say: “Now it is time for lunch. Everybody let’s head for the dining table. I will put your Opera on pause so you can continue afterwards and everyone would get to eat with the family on the dining-table.
Step 3: Deliver the threat, just once: You say: “If you stop, and come to the table now, then you will watch Opera afterwards. If you do not, there won’t be Opera to watch next time and the last to come in for dinner will have to eat alone in the kitchen.”
Whatever consequence you choose, the point is that you state it clearly and calmly and are prepared to follow through if there is noncompliance.
Step 4: Lower the bang: This is when you follow through with your threat. There is no going back now. It’s over. Paul has wandered all through the ten minutes and has arrived later than everyone else, ready for dinner on his own schedule.
You say: “Your lunch is in the kitchen. Maybe tomorrow you will come when I ask you and you will be able to eat with the rest of the family. Right now, you are eating your lunch alone in the kitchen.”
At this point you will likely have to tolerate a huge tantrum or hurt as Paul is disrupting everyone’s meal. But it will happen only once or maybe twice. Your child has now learned that you mean what you say.
Nevertheless, be consistent. Once your child knows the rules and what will happen if they’re broken, follow through with the expected results. Nevertheless, it’s OK to be strict, but once in a while, you should let your child negotiate with you too. It helps build her social skills.
Also, noting when your child behaves well can help keep things in check. Praise him, brag to someone else about him, or just give him extra one-on-one time reward.
Don’t Exude Frustration – You’re a leader and a teacher. Think about the ones you look up to. They are calm and confident. If you get all flustered, you won’t be able to communicate effectively and children will not only be distracted from your messages – you will ironically be reinforcing the very behaviour you wish to curb.
If you can manage to do more of these “Dos” and less of the “Don’ts,” you’ll find your child internalizing the lessons sooner and grow into a youthful confident fellow you would be proud of.