As parents, we can't help but wonder if we are doing the right thing in raising our kids. Oftentimes, we do trial and error about what works and what doesn't. Our discipline strategies may not be perfect as we also commit mistakes. We may not know the do's and don'ts about disciplining and being firm, but I'm sure moms and dads are trying their best to raise good kids. Of course, we do not want our kids to grow spoiled or entitled, but how can we ensure what we're doing is right? Here are the best ways to help you in disciplining your child.
Being calm & patient
How your child reacts depends on how you handle the situation. Yelling harsh words and giving physical punishment is ineffective as your child may become more aggressive and angry. There is a slight chance that they will listen, and this kind of approach may negatively impact their physical and mental health, which can be a problem in the long run.
AAP's (American Association of Pediatrics) policy states, parents should practice "Effective Discipline to Raise Healthy Children." We want our kids to listen and teach them what is right; punishing them is not the answer. Yelling and losing your patience will not bring good results. Remember that we are raising your child to become a better person. An effective discipline would be calmly talking to your child, teaching them right from wrong. Explain to them why they should or should not do a specific action or why they cannot get what they want at the moment. This approach will encourage your child to listen and understand you more. Communication is the key!
Rules are part of living, and without them, the world can be in chaos. It is essential to set rules so people will feel secure, disciplined, and safe. The same thing at home: rules can develop your child to follow instructions, make them safe, and use what they learn in many aspects of life. Your rules should be positive, clear, consistent, and age-appropriate, or simple so it will not confuse them.
For a toddler, you can say, "The bed is for relaxing and sleeping," instead of "Don't jump on the bed!" or you can tell, "The toys are for playing and to be cared for," instead of "Don't break your toys." Try to make it sound more positive. Positive words sound more encouraging rather than the negatives ones, as it sounds punishing.
It can be challenging to set rules at home. You may feel guilt, and sometimes, you don't want to spend your energy arguing with your child or dealing with their tantrums. Be consistent and explain the consequences of not following the rules. Remember that you want to instill discipline and not spoil them, so it's best not to give in and stick with the limits. It is also important that other family members or caregivers know the rules, that way those rules are consistent and your child will not get confused.
As they say, communication is always the key, but it would not be effective without listening. Hear your child's story first before resolving the situation. Watch out for behaviors that need to be addressed rather than giving consequences. Behaviors like lying, feeling jealous, being violent, etc. Know the root cause or what triggers the behavior. Talk to your child calmly and tell them how you feel. Do not express anger as your child may not open up to you. For instance, if your child is lying, you can say, "It seems like there is another story; why don't you try again and tell me what really happened?"
Parents are typically busy working, parenting, and doing house chores. Sometimes children tend to break the rules to get their parents' attention. It would be good to spend time with them to encourage good behaviors, like playing or telling them stories that teaches lessons. For older kids, check on what they are up to, their latest interests, and how they are doing. You can give unsolicited advice or tell them what you think about their current situation. Noticing them can make a big difference on their attitude. They will feel more loved and appreciated. They are more likely to behave, do good, and follow the rules.
Notice good deeds
It can be uplifting when you praise them for behaving appropriately. Recognize those good behaviors as it will encourage them to do more. You can say, "Good job on putting away those toys," or "thank you for putting the dish on the sink." Children love it when they are recognized, and it puts a smile on their faces.
You are their parent, not their friend
As much as we want to be their best pal or partner in all things, we have to keep in mind that we are the ones who make the rules. We should be firm in teaching right from wrong. Being inconsistent may mean that mom and dad are lenient, it is okay not to follow rules, and that he can get away with it. Setting limits and following rules will help them to learn skills that they can use later in life. We want them to grow into a person that has a good moral character.
Let them learn from their mistakes
We can become overprotective as parents as we do not want anything to happen to our children. We are here to teach and guide them but we should also let them learn from their mistakes. If your child asks for help, like tying her shoes, you can teach her at first but she should try and practice doing it from then on. If your child is asking for help with homework, you can ask your child to try first answering it, if he got it wrong, guide him on how to find the right answer, not by directly spoon-feeding him.
Explain to your child that losing, failing, committing mistakes is normal and part of being human. Tell them that it's okay to be wrong sometimes and learn from it. This will them develop independence, confidence, and resilience, so they can grow up to be a capable and successful adult.
This is applicable in younger kids as most of them are normally having tantrums or gets upset easily. If a toddler is having a tantrum about not getting what he wants, you can focus his attention to do other things, or think of activities to make him busy. This young age group loves testing their control and independence, you can offer them choices to avoid arguments. Making them choose from the choices you provided makes them feel that they are in control.
Find what triggers your child's tantrums. If your child acts up when she's bored, make sure you have planned some activities for her. Or if she will have a meltdown when you leave the play area, give her a lot of heads up before leaving. Learn more about 7 ways to deal with temper tantrums.
Talk calmly to your child if she is having tantrums. Do not overreact. Use simple words so they will not get confused. Talk, explain, redirect, or offer choices.
Have a "Fine"
While using punishments and rewards is always being debated. Having a fine or consequence means that your child knows ahead of time the consequences of their actions. For example, making it clear that you will be taking away your kid's privileges when they break a rule. Your kids will have to understand that you are in control and they need to follow the rules. But you should explain why you are doing this and the reasoning. Make sure you also fulfill your promise as to when you are giving their privileges back. Respect and trust are what you and your kids should have to make discipline work and correct behaviors effectively.