Parenting is one of the hardest things that you can do. With so many ways to discipline your child, how do you know if your way of disciplining is going to be effective. Learning how to effectively discipline your child is an important skill that all parents need to learn. Discipline is not the same as punishment. Discipline has to do more with teaching and involves teaching your child right from wrong, how to respect the rights of others, and which behaviors are acceptable and which are not.
All children are different and a style of discipline that may work with other children may not work with yours. However, if you give in after your child repeatedly argues, becomes violent or has a temper tantrum, then your child will learn to repeat this behavior because your child knows you may eventually give in. If you are firm and consistent, then your child will learn that it is not beneficial to be oppositional for something they are going to end up having to do anyway.
Important Techniques For Disciplining Your Child
1. Stay calm and do not get carried away when your child misbehaves. Avoid yelling and screaming, since this can teach your child that it is all right to lose control, if you don’t get your way. If you feel like things are escalating too much, then take a break, until you calm down. It is always important to never discipline or consequence your child when you are angry.
2. Be consistent in your methods of discipline and how you consequence or discipline your child. It is normal for children to test their limits, and if you are inconsistent in what these limits are, then you will be encouraging more negative behaviors.
3. Avoid too much criticism. Make sure your child understands that it is the negative behavior that you are unhappy with and that you will always love him/her (e.g. “I am not happy with your behavior”, rather than “I’m not happy with you”). Also, don’t focus on negatives all of the time (e.g., “I like that you washed the dishes today”, instead of “I liked that you decided to finally wash the dishes for once”).
4. Remember to give rewards and encouragement for positive behavior.
5. Time-outs involve sending your child to a neutral and “boring” area (e.g., the corner of a room with no toys or television) and ignoring your child until the time-out is over (please note not to ignore your child if your child is doing something that can be harmful to him/herself). The general rule is one minute of time-out equivalent to your child’s age (e.g., 2 minutes for a 2-year-old, 5 minutes for a 5-year-old, etc.).
6. Establish Rules by explaining your rules to your child. When developing rules, be as specific as possible (e.g., “Wash the dishes and wipe down the kitchen counter daily, instead of, clean the kitchen). This helps to alleviate any misunderstandings and let your child know what your expectations are.
7. Grounding or Withholding Privileges are techniques effective with school-age children and teenagers. It involves restricting your child to a certain place, usually home or his/her room (e.g., grounding your child next weekend because he/she came home past curfew this weekend), or withholding a privilege that your child enjoys (e.g., TV, playing with friends, playing video games, etc.), as a consequence.