Five Tips to Help You Better Discipline Your Child
Instilling discipline at an early age helps our children become responsible adults. Through discipline, our kids learn self-control, problem solving skills, and, most importantly, values that they can pass on to their own children. Instilling obedience and respect at an early age is a sure-fire recipe to a happy, peaceful home.
To help you with your parenting journey, here are five tips to guide you in developing the discipline strategy that works best for you and your child.
Tip #1: Yelling does not work.
We’ve all found ourselves raising our voices in exasperation at one point. Yelling can definitely grab your child’s attention but for all the wrong reasons. Yelling stresses out our kids and teaches them to yell back.
Committing to speak to your kids in a calm, firm and respectful voice is a good start. We cannot control our children’s attitude, but we are fully in charge of how we react to it.
The University of Pittsburgh studied 900 students over a 2-year period. The study revealed that harsh verbal discipline is as harmful as spanking. Yelling only reinforces bratty behavior, increased instances of depression, and proved to be damaging to kids.
Tip #2: Set a routine and stick to them.
A predictable routine gives kids a sense of security. You can set structure to the day and practice it over and over again until it becomes automatic.
In a household with many kids, calling everyone to the table at the same time can be a respectful and peaceful occasion with the help of guidelines. First, the kids need to know that they’ll only be called to the table once. If they are in their rooms, go to each one and get their attention. The meal will start with or without them. But if they’re not there, a corresponding consequence will be given. After all, delayed obedience is disobedience.
You can choose to set specific hours for TV time or gadget time. Make it clear that there is no tantrum in the world that will grant them exemptions or extensions. You can say that, “If you don’t stick to your gadget time, we will deduct the time you’ve exceeded tomorrow.”
Routines from morning to evening will help you run a happier ship at home. Plus, you are less likely to resort to yelling if you’ve established household rules.
Tip #3: Praise and reward generously.
Acknowledge good behavior and acts of kindness. “I love that your room is so clean” or “Thank you for sharing your cookie”. This positive reinforcement boosts self-esteem and motivates them to continue doing good deeds for praise and happy feelings.
Giving your child a lot of attention also helps reduce attention-seeking behaviors. Make it a point to complement your child a few times throughout the day to assure that he or she is your top priority.
Tip #4: Set your expectations high.
An important ingredient for successful discipline is enthusiasm. Your kids need to feel that you believe in them. Treat them as though they were the most-behaved kids in the world, and they will do their best to match your expectations. This is called the Pygmalion effect; the idea that positive expectations influence positive performance.
Researchers Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson put the Pygmalion effect to the test. In their study, they told teachers that their students were identified as high achievers, expected to excel during the course of the year. But the students were, in fact, chosen at random. The results were amazing. The study found that the students had high academic performance and increase in verbal IQ points. This is attributed to their teachers having high expectations and altering their behavior.
The classroom is very different from the daily grind at home, but you get the picture. Believe in your kids and believe in yourself as well.
Tip #5: Teach character by modeling.
Kids do as they see, not as they are told. Our kids watch how we talk, how we treat others, how we react to situations, and just about everything we do in between. Modeling the behavior we want our children to have is the best way to teach them. But since we’re only human and bound to make mistakes, don’t be too hard on yourself. If you fail, apologize and get at it again.
Discipline is always easier said than done. No matter the discipline strategy you prefer, take a moment to pat yourself on the back. You have your child’s best interest at heart and you’re already doing the best you can. These tips are here to help you be more intentional with how you can better discipline your family in the future.