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Do you dread disciplining your child? One main role of parents is to teach their children to behave. Disciplining your child is sometimes difficult. You may feel guilty or wonder if you are doing the right thing. Luckily, there are ways to discipline your child positively.
1. Lead by example
Walk the talk. Children constantly observe and mimic what their parents do, so it is important that you set a good example. Model the behavior you would like them to imitate. Strive to be the best version of yourself.
2. Hear them out and observe them
It helps to understand their needs at that age and their possible inability to express themselves adequately. For example, toddlers need to expend their energy and satisfy their curiosity. They have also just started recognizing what is allowed and what is not.
For older children, if they wish to speak in their defense, listen to them before delivering consequences. Observe the misbehaviors and look out for a consistent pattern. Doing so may help to explain the root cause. Listening to your children is an act of respect, which they will pick up as they mature.
3. Pay attention to them
Pay attention to your children, but not to the point of feeding their need to seek attention. In fact, paying an appropriate amount of attention helps children feel secure, resulting in a lesser need to seek the attention of the adults. This is an effective strategy against misbehaviors caused by children who are bored or yearn for attention.
Appropriate attention can also mean creating a routine and consistently spending quality time with your children. Younger children thrive on routine. If you react to them only when there is misbehavior, you might unwittingly spur the child on. Parents should avoid that.
4. Praise them
Catch them being good. Give them praises and positive reinforcement when they do good things. Be specific and descriptive. For example, “Good job in brushing your teeth on your own!”.
Interestingly there are some rules to praising effectively. Parents should avoid comparison praise by comparing a child’s achievement over the other. Sounds logical, but sometimes adults induce peer pressure to encourage good behavior. This will give our children the wrong type of motivation. Instead, praise them for achieving milestones! For example, when they share more crayons than they normally would, parents can also commend the effort and encourage the child to share more.
5. Set limit
Set reasonable rules for your children to follow. Rules that promote safety, good values, healthy habits, and the development of social and life skills are important. To reinforce these rules effectively, you can either post them up somewhere visible in the house or explain the rules to your children. Making sure your children understand the rules may help them adhere to them more easily.
The reinforcement of the rule is also crucial. The word “no” could invite some major tantrums, so to avoid that, parents can opt to deliver the rules differently. For example, “No playing on the road” can be paraphrased to “Please play on the grass.”
6. Deliver consequences
Consistency is key in delivering consequences. The last thing we need is for a child to know that there is leeway in every rule. Consequences ought to be age-appropriate to discipline effectively. Some key guidelines are as follows;
Toddler: Change your tone to a firm and assertive tone and redirect the attention of the said toddler. Parents may attempt to explain and impose time-out on older toddlers. The point of time-out is to disengage the toddler from their behavior.
Teens: This group of children is likely to understand the rules and the consequences of disobedience. Normally at this age, they can choose to obey or otherwise. Parents should allow natural consequences first. For example, if their child is picky during dinner, they will be hungry at night. As a last resort, parents should choose a privilege to take away.
The most important part of delivering consequences is the positive reinforcement that follows it. Parents ought to spend time conversing or explaining to their children what had just happened and encouraging them to do better next time. For younger children, explain it concisely, and if possible, use similar words time after time.
7. Plan ahead
It helps if parents can plan for the situation when their children are likely to misbehave. For example, you are heading to a mall, and your child is likely to ask for a toy and will not take no for an answer. Your game plan could include avoiding the section altogether or redirecting their attention.
8. Be patient
If nothing seems to work, don’t be frustrated. Be patient because, like adults, children need time to develop a new habit, especially one that is against their instinct, like putting fingers in their mouth.
When the going gets tough, try not to let your anger get the better of you. All sorts of punishments will be counterproductive if done out of frustration. Allow yourself to calm down by stepping away and returning to the situation later.
9. Partner with your spouse
Parents should coordinate with one another in their way of disciplining their children. One parent should not do all the disciplining. All parties should be involved, so the children know that they cannot manipulate any parent. Parents should love and discipline their children in a united and systematic manner.
And if you are a single parent, you can align yourself with your child’s school. Consistency will send the message across to your children better. The best discipline strategies differ with each child and parent. Taking time to know your children will help you determine what works best.