Everyday, our children do things that we don’t want them to, or they don’t do the things we ask them to. As parents, we struggle to find ways to teach our children through discipline. There are thousands of people out there who are trying to sell their latest ideas on discipline, but don’t go wasting your money. This article will discuss simple Dos and Do Nots of discipline. So get a pen, and paper and take notes!
The first thing you should do to get a grip on discipline is to cut down the choices. How many times so we ask our child a question, asking them to make a choice with a million different possible answers. (Well, maybe not million but you understand.) We’ve all done it. Questions like “What would you like for dinner?” or “What do you want to wear today?” These questions have way to many possible answers. Asking more simple questions, such as, “Would you like to wear your blue or red shirt today?” or “Would you like hamburgers or pizza for dinner?” is the most effective way to get your child to cooperate. You may not always be able to give you child choices, but when you do, only let them choose between two or three possibilities. Any more than that is to overwhelming for a child.
The second thing you need to do in disciplining you child is use direct commands instead of silly questions. Have you ever asked your child “Are you ready for dinner?” or any other question like it? The child is lead to believe they actually have a choice when in reality, you just wanted them to go to the dinner table and get ready to eat. What you should have said is “It’s time for dinner, lets go to the table to eat.” This way your child knows what is expected and you have just avoided a conflict. Here are some more examples.
1 Don’t say- “Would you like potatoes with dinner?”
Say- “We are having potatoes with dinner.”
2 Don’t say- “Are you ready to take a nap?”
Say- “It is nap time.”
Finally, the third thing that you should do to teach your child about discipline is “Practice what you preach”! If you tell your children to say please and thank you, but you don’t say them yourself, your child will not understand when they get disciplined for not saying them. Also, you would be surprised at what a small word like PLEASE can do. Next time your child is not doing what you asked them to do, say please. Example: PLEASE put you pajamas on. Children will cooperate much more when parents use a pleasant voice. When your child does what you have asked them to, say “THANK YOU!!” When children feel appreciated, they are more likely to cooperate.
Many times, parents discipline to quickly, when their children actually need understanding and encouragement. Here are a few scenarios to explain.
1 Your child woke up before you and decided to make a bowl of cereal. Only, in the process, dumped a half of a gallon of milk on to your floor. You wake up, see the mess, and go straight into discipline mode. In reality, your child was only trying to be independent, no make a mess. If you stop and look at the situation, it’s only milk. Now I’m not saying you should not talk to the child about the mess, or not make them help clean it up. What I am saying is they don’t need time out tor to be grounded. It was a learning experience. You need to accept that it was an accident. Children want to learn, they do this by making mistakes. You have to learn to let them learn to.
2 You put you child to bed each night, ten times. They won’t stay in the bed. You get aggravated, yell, and make your child cry. Whats really happening is that your child is scared of the dark and doesn’t want to be alone. The simplest way to deal with this situation is to acknowledge the child’s fears. Explain to the child that you understand what they are going through. Personally, I found that giving the child a way to “protect” themselves is the best way to go. I gave each of my children a “magic” wand, that they were told to wave around and say “Boogies, Go away.” I told them the monsters had to leave when they did this. The first night they slept with their wands, there were no more problems and have not been for over two years.
The point that I am trying to make is that as parents, we need to step back, look at the situation and make a rational decision about discipline. You need to put yourself in your child’s shoes, try to see things from their prospective. Parenting is not easy, but if you apply the simple things discussed in this article, in your own life, it won’t be so hard.