By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.
Learning how to effectively discipline your child is an important skill for all parents. Children have to be taught discipline. They are not born with it. You must be consistent and must train your child to obey through diligent and careful discipline and precise instruction. The rules cannot be changed from day to day. They have to be the same each and every day. Discipline is not the same as punishment. Instead, discipline has to do more with teaching.
Following are the goals of discipline:
- Teaching your child right from wrong
- How to respect the rights of others
- Which behaviors are acceptable and which are not; setting limits and correcting misbehavior
- With a goal of helping to develop a child who feels secure and loved, is self-confident, self-disciplined and knows how to control his impulses
- To raise a child who does not get overly frustrated with the normal stresses of everyday life.
Firmly enforce boundaries indicating what behavior is acceptable and what is not. Children and adolescents may anger parents but parents need to practice self-control when they are angry. Do not let your child get away for his misdemeanor without letting him know that it is unacceptable and he must be suitably punished for it. When they disobey they need to know that there are consequences to their wrongdoing.
Parents should always acknowledge and offer positive reinforcement and support when their child follows the rules. Never spank, hit or slap a child of any age. Children do not need to be hit in order to learn how to behave. Spanking can teach children to be afraid and make children stop misbehaving, but probably only when you are watching. Good discipline teaches children to respect the adult in charge. Besides, children need to learn to control their own behavior even when you are not around to watch them.
Children are keen observers. When they see you doing things a certain way, they are going to imitate you. Be a role model for your child, and your child will follow your actions and attitudes.
Here are some tips to help you discipline your kids efficiently and effectively:
- Be firm and specific when you are laying out rules and limits for your children. Explain why you want these restrictions in a way that your children understand it. Do not lay out just the rules.
- Do not be aggressive or disrespectful towards your child. Also do not resort to yelling or name-calling as it will do more harm than any good.
- Don't let your child be intimidated and terrified of you. Your child might resort to lying and cheating.
- Avoid physical punishment.
- Always praise and reward your child for good behavior. However, avoid too much praise and too much criticism.
Discipline is how adults teach children to grow to be happy, safe, and well-adjusted members of society. If a child's life starts with clear, concise and consistent discipline things should stay smoother. The patience of parents, along with help from caring professionals, when necessary, will help ease the way for children to learn and enjoy what society expects of them and what they can expect from themselves.
Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center, http://www.startingadaycarecenter.com.