Discipline is easy when children are easy. It can be downright tricky when children are difficult, have interesting personalities or who at more difficult developmental stages.
But it's with challenging kids that we need to get our discipline techniques right.
Here are 10 common mistakes I see many parents make when trying to get cooperation from their children; keep them safe or teaching them behave well.
Do any of these bloopers ring a bell?
1. Repeat yourself. If so, you are training kids to become parent-deaf. Kids learn more from respectful actions than your repeated words so talk once, twice at most, then DO something.
2. Shout to be heard. You are better off going below the noise baseline to get their attention rather than raising your voice.
3. Set limits too late. Set a limit a few weeks after new object or situation is introduced (e.g. kids get a new mobile phone, teen starts going out at night) and suddenly you are seen to be taking away a freedom. Set limits first then loosen them up later.
4. Set no limits. Boundaries, rules, expectations and standards teach kids what's expected. Boys love them. They also like to push against them so you need a firm backbone.
5. Fail to follow through. Talk! Threaten! Nag! No way! See No. 1 above.
6. Make consequences too harsh. 'You're grounded for a month Mr. 6 year old' is a tad harsh and will usually bring resentment not to mention confusion. Stick to the 3 R's of respectful, reasonable and related to the behaviour when setting consequences and you can't go too far wrong.
7. Apply consequences when you or they are angry. When anger is in the air kids will become mad at you.....if they listen at all. Calmness makes a huge difference to effectiveness at the point of discipline.
8. Mix discipline with counselling. Never mix the two as it sends mixed messages. If a child misbehaves manage that situation. If you suspect something negative is going on in their life, then deal with that at a separate time. Keep the two actions separate so they can both be effective.
9. Defer discipline to a child care centre, pre school or school. This is taking the easy way out and teaches kids that you don't have real authority. Have the confidence to be the authority and take a lead.
10. One parent is always the bad guy. This gets wearing. Also it's hard to have fun when you are the tough cop all the time. If you are in a two parent situation take discipline in turns. If you are parenting solo bring sparents into the act.
We've all made mistakes when disciplining kids. Tiredness, emotion and lack of skill can get in the way of effective dicsipline.
But part of the evolution and growth of you as a parent involves eradicating some of your old ways, and replacing them with new, more effective, more sophisticated ways of managing yourself and your kids.
For better, more sophisticated and more effective discipline techniques visit my online parenting manual that is also known as Parentingideas Club. Next year I'll feature the best of these in my online courses.
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