Sunday, March 28, 2010
Many parents have said to me that one area of parenting they hate, yes hate, the most is the area of discipline. I can totally understand that. Not only is it daunting but it makes me feel guilty and rather down for the rest of the day whenever I have to discipline my kids, and, many times I would do it wrong or forget the rules. But, now after 19 years of parenting a now teenager and 5 years of parenting my now 5 year old, I have the discipline area down pretty pat, which has helped me make great strides in disciplining with success and having less repeat offenses by my kids.
Here are some discipline tactics to help you avoid the traps and get a more positive experience out of your efforts.
1. One Style Does Not Fit All
Our grandmothers or even mothers will tell us what they found to be affective when disciplining their children. Their approach back then was simple. One method of discipline was used on all the kids. However, it is important to remember that children are all different, especially when it comes to the way they handle being disciplined or scolded. Some children are rather sensitive and can't handle being spoken to sharply, while others are not the least bit bothered. Some will learn quickly while others will take more time, needing repetition when the situation arises again. And some need to express themselves rather loudly before they can begin to hear what you are saying to them. So in a nutshell, children have different temperaments, so be sure to select discipline tactics that suit the individual.
2. Understanding Where and Who They Are In Life
Age and development also plays a role here. Toddlers are known for doing outrageous things you have repeatedly told them not to do, thus pushing your limits as a parent. Tweens are searching for their independence from their parents, wanting to prove to themselves that they can get on with you. This usually shows itself through odd or crazy behavior, again resulting in your need to repeat yourself and reinforce punishment. Neither one of these age groups is interested in listening to a long lecture.
Good parenting discipline tactics require that a toddler receive direct, quick, simple discipline while a tween will require punishment within appropriate boundaries.nd with this, does not necessarily come perfection. Both tween and toddler will usually be repeat offenders putting your discipline tactics and your parenting to the test.
When you understand where and who they are in life you gain the key to selecting the best approach of discipline for them, you and the situation.
3. Overdoing it
This one is a bit tougher, and even more so for parents who are frustrated from not seeing an improvement after repeating discipline for the same old issues. Ensure the punishment fits the crime as opposed to the punishment fitting your level of frustration and agitation. Ensuring you are able to uphold the punishment is another part of not over doing it. It's tough I know, but think about the punishment before you inflict it. Don't tell your toddler he can't go to the party if you yourself have to be there for some reason. Don't tell your tween he has to stay home all day and not go out unless you know for sure that you yourself don't have to go that day.
It helps if you keep a punishment in mind for when you need it this way you are less likely to throw out a punishment that is over the top or not realistic. Another good idea and a very helpful one if you ask me, is to have a single word or phrase that you use on your kids when they are getting out of line or showing signs they are about to be repeat offenders. What ever the phrase you choose, don't shout it but rather use a firm tone of voice, a stern serious face, and a glare that lets them know you are not kidding and will shove out the disciplinary measure if you need to. This is also good because you are giving your child the chance to make the right decision on his own before slamming down the discipline.
4. Underdoing it
I used to be famous for this one when my teenager was a toddler. Simply voicing to your child he is going to get into trouble at the moment he is doing something not right, is really not going to work. Good parenting discipline tactics require that your approach be more direct and firm. Going over to your child and helping him do the right thing and then giving him another chance to play nicely is a better approach.
Think about what would be the most effective punishment. Canceling sports if your child really doesn't like it that much is really not accomplishing anything. Make sure the punishment or discipline measure is one that will help him think twice the next time and one that he will feel the consequences of his actions. My daughter's favorite thing in the whole day is pretty much her night time story before bed. Taking this away as a punishment worked but then she grew a little older and it didn't work anymore so keep up with your child's movement when it comes the things he loves, hates or couldn't care all that much about.
If you sometimes allow something (for whatever reasons), and then sometimes don't allow it, you are confusing your child, especially young ones. Children know very well that they can often times soften up mom and dad or that mom and dad will let something slide, so they use it to their advantage. Sometimes parents get caught up in whatever they are doing at the time and their kids get away with doing things they shouldn't. Consistency is key to how long it will take for your child to stop being a repeat offender in the same area.
Parents must follow through with punishments so choose them wisely. Taking away TV all together is usually a pretty good punishment for most kids, however, if you say it is for the entire day then you can't back off from that in the evening when you are busy doing something and don't want your child underfoot. Your child will learn that you are not serious or that the punishment will cease as soon as you are busy.
6. Using the positive to wipe out the negative
Many parents find themselves in the position of feeling guilty a lot because it seems they are always punishing their kids and thus creating a rift in the relationship. This can be the case with a child that doesn't listen well and is always somehow in trouble.
One of the things these parents can do is to observe the good behavior no matter how small and let their child know they appreciate it and get praise for it. If your child is sitting and playing nicely with is playmates as opposed to fighting and taking away toys then praise him for it even if it is for five minutes. Use this technique and you will find it makes a world of difference because most children want to please their parents and noticing their good behavior will help them want to do good more often.
Another good parenting disciple tactic is when you go out with your kids and you know they are likely to act up, don't scold them in advance by assuming they will be naughty. Instead, let them know how they can help you and get them involved in some tasks and offer a reward for good helpful behavior. Give your kids the opportunity to prove you wrong and behave themselves, as opposed to assuming right away they are going to be naughty. Show them you have faith in them.
In conclusion discipline is really about showing your kids how much you love them while helping them grow up to be all the good things. Apply good parenting skills by helping your child feel your love even when disciplining him by taking a deep breath at the time of frustration and thinking clearly about how you should punish him that will have the better outcome. Utilize good parenting discipline tactics such as positive reinforcements, keep age and temperament in mind, punish to fit the crime, follow through and be consistent in all your efforts.