Discipline is probably the most important and controversial skill of good parenting. I personally am no expert on the subject and even after seven children I still struggle with the thought ‘am I making the right decision concerning the disciplining of this child.’
Parenting in present times has revolved, from the extended family to single parent families we have become a transient society and our extended family usually lives many kilometres away. In recent years we have learned to make the most of all resources, whether it be surfing the internet, reading books, attending classes and making friends with people whom we believe to be ‘experts’ on the subject. We then use all this information in ways to make it work for our families.
Unfortunately not even a course in Child Psychology has prepared me on this subject. Whilst child psychology is a complex subject to read, it is even more difficult to practise.
We are usually conflicted over what type of discipline to apply at what time. Appropriate discipline for one child may not be suitable or effective for another. Foremost it is most important to determine who is in authority: the parents or the child. This may sound simple, but in this day and age, the answer isn't always quite clear.
Good child discipline requires good family communication. The fear of hurting a child's feelings compels many parents into allowing their children to reign supreme. Giving instructions and applying discipline, listening to your child, holding family meetings, and resolving conflicts are just a few of the opportunities parents have to encourage self-discipline and maintain good family relationships. One thing to always keep in mind is that adults should keep a united front especially when it comes to consistent parental discipline.
When discipline doesn't seem to be working for your family, you want to step back and look again at the problem. The first step is to learn what normal behavior is for your child's age and stage of development. Some misbehavior is an expression of transitions in the child's development. Parental expectations may be beyond what the child is able to achieve on a consistent basis. Discipline techniques that belittle or shame a child are truly harmful. Avoid physical punishment. Spanking has never been shown to be more effective than other forms of punishment and will make your child more aggressive and angry.
Analyze why a disciplining method stopped working. Don't discipline hard, just discipline smart. If you are having difficulty disciplining your child, it is important to remember that you may not be doing anything wrong. All children are different and have different characters and developmental levels and a style of discipline that may work with other children may not work with yours.
Both spoiled and harshly-disciplined children are at risk for emotional and behavioural problems. One new approach or discipline style can change the course of our child's development. When we see that something doesn't work, we do it more, hoping that more of the same might produce better results.
When a childhood behavioral problem becomes habitual, we tend to escalate the strategy we've been using. But the solution often lies in simply trying something new!
Children need firm boundaries that come from clear and consistent parental discipline. Whether the method is redirection, time-outs, loss of privileges, grounding, extra chores, or spanking, it is crucial that we embrace our role to train our children to become moral and respectable adults. When confronting a problem, your method of communication will help or hinder a successful resolution. Learn how to communicate effectively with your child. Children must be taught right from wrong. In order to do that, parents must practice a consistent, pattern of discipline
Stay calm and do not get carried away when your child misbehaves. Avoid yelling and screaming, since this can teach your child that it is all right to lose control if you don't get your way. If you feel like things are escalating too much, then take a break until you can regain your composure. An angry parent should never discipline a child before regaining control of their emotions. An angry parent needs to take time to cool down.
Remember to give rewards and praise for good behavior.
Give lots of encouragement. If your child isn't following through with a chore, there's a good chance you aren't following through with encouragement. Your children need lots of encouragement, and recognition for any good work or accomplishments. As do we all….