A parent who wants to be heard must be prepared to listen before confronting.
What is discipline?
The goal of discipline is to teach your child self-discipline. It is to guide your child to become more responsible. When your child misbehaves, you use discipline to help him/her choose a better way to belong.
Discipline is not a single act or statement. It is a process. Both learning to discipline and learning from it takes time. Discipline is a way to guide your child to learn to make choices. Consequences can help your child learn to cooperate and be responsible. Using consequences shows respect for all family members.
Is discipline and punishment the same thing?
Punishment teaches your child to avoid and fear you, it lowers the child’s self-esteem and it can hurt the relationship you want to have with your child. Punishment teaches your child to punish others, such as by being a bully. Rewards teach children to get something – not to cooperate. Rewards have to increase as your child gets older.
What is punishment?
It is threats, yelling and put downs; you don’t always carry your threats out; your yelling makes things worse; your child may start paying attention only when you shout.
You punish by taking things away, but often what is taken away has nothing to do with what the child did wrong.
You may spank and hit, but it only shows your child that hitting is a way of solving problems; it hurts and your child becomes afraid of you.
What are the Keys to discipline my child?
- Show respect for your child and yourself; Expect your child to cooperate; Provide choices; Apply consequences.
- Instead of giving orders, set limits and give choices. Limits and choices give everyone some control.
- A consequence happens when a child makes a choice. Consequences are a way to set limits and give choices.
- Consequences show respect for you and your child; fit the misbehaviour; are for bad choices, not bad kids; are about now, not the past; are firm and friendly; allow choice; to use consequences, give choices such as “you may….” or “you may..” and then follow through by letting the child act on the choice.
- Some guidelines for using consequences are to be be both firm and kind. Talk less, act more; don’t fight or give in; use respectful words; respect the child’s choice; let the child be responsible for choices made; don’t worry about what others think; stay calm.
- Make clear when there is not a choice. State clearly what you expect from your child.
- When parents don’t agree, each parent should handle it in their own way, don’t fight about it. Your child will adjust to both your ways of disciplining.
- Be patient with yourself and your child.
- When there is a stepparent it is best to leave discipline with the birth parent if the stepparent’s involvement is not acceptable to the child.
- Remember the I-messages when you are disciplining and giving choices.