Parenting is an art and journey filled with challenges and learning opportunities. Parenting requires selflessness, care, and love. It also requires discipline.
It can be very frustrating when children are naughty and don’t listen to you. We often want to react emotionally, especially when we feel stressed at the moment and don’t have time to deal with bad behaviour.
Discipline can be challenging — sometimes, we don’t impart it in the best way possible. Many people say they associate their parents disciplining them with punishment and control. This is the danger of raising a child and not having effective positive discipline strategies.
What is the goal of discipline?
Discipline is not just about correcting misbehaviour; it’s about teaching children how to make good choices and understand the consequences of their actions. Discipline is meant to encourage acceptable and appropriate behaviour in children and help them grow into responsible, empathetic, and self-disciplined individuals.
Read on for positive discipline techniques that may help promote a healthier and happier home.
1. Have creative distractions on hand.
Be mindful about when your child seems on edge and when it seems like things are about to go wrong. The timing is crucial so you can devise an appropriate creative distraction before your child misbehaves.
2. Be patient and stay calm.
Parenting tests patience, but reacting in anger or frustration can escalate the situation. Take a deep breath, stay calm, and address the behaviour with a clear and composed mind. Do not verbally abuse your child when they are being naughty. Also, praise your child when they do listen to you. This encourages children to repeat those behaviours.
3. Set clear expectations.
Children thrive when they have clear boundaries and understand what is expected of them. Use simple, age-appropriate language to explain the rules and the reasons behind them. Consistency is key — ensure that all caregivers are on the same page with rules and consequences.
4. Implement Time-Outs Appropriately
When used correctly, time-outs can be an effective disciplinary tool. They provide a break for both the child and the parent to calm down. The rule of thumb for time-outs is one minute of time-out per year of age. Ensure that the time-out space is safe and free from distractions.
5. Teach Problem-Solving Skills
When a child misbehaves, use it as a teaching moment. Discuss what went wrong and how they can handle the situation differently in the future. Encourage them to think about solutions and understand the impact of their actions on others.
6. Lead by Example
Children learn a lot by observing their parents. Display the behaviours you want to see in your child. Show them how to handle frustration, anger, and disappointment in healthy ways.
7. Understand Your Child’s Perspective
Sometimes, misbehaviour is a way for children to express themselves or cope with their feelings. Try to understand the root cause of their behaviour. Are they tired, hungry, or seeking attention? Addressing these underlying needs can often resolve the behaviour.
8. Age-Appropriate Consequences
Consequences should be related to the misbehaviour and be age-appropriate. For instance, if a toy is thrown, the consequence might be that the toy is taken away for a short period. Always follow through with the consequences you set.
Children with neurological conditions can also present with behavioural difficulties.
Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to discipline. Each child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Maintaining a loving and respectful relationship while setting boundaries and teaching life lessons is key. As parents, your role is to guide and support your children as they navigate the complexities of growing up. With patience, understanding, and consistent application of these strategies, you’ll help your child develop into a well-rounded individual.
Reach out to Dr Vahed for more effective strategies or advice; she is happy to help!