Discipline! Every parent has their own way of making their child understand that they have done something wrong, and urge them not to repeat again. As a child I have heard many horror stories from my peers on how one of them used to get whipped with a belt, and another get burnt with a hot ladle and yet another get kicked by his father for his mistakes. Parenting has come a long way today and parents have understood that violence is not the way to go. However, even non-violent parents can make epic blunders when it comes to disciplining their kids. Here are some pointers to disciplining the right way.
1. Be Firm With Your Rules
When you tell a child something is off limits, make eye contact and use a firm tone for him to understand you mean business. Be reasonable in your demands—good manners, obedience and orderliness are what you could lay stress upon. Being harsh and chronically disapproving may lead to the child developing a complex and distancing himself away from you in the long run.
2. Bribe Only In An Emergency
It’s all right to have a little bribe stashed away for a crisis that might emerge. A bar of chocolate to offer her when she is upset after a doctor’s visit, or maybe, a video game for her to play while you both wait in the queue at the passport office. However, on a regular basis, it works better to appreciate good behavior verbally than to pacify the kid with goodies.
3. Good Cop/ Bad Cop
When you set the ground rules for your child, ensure that you and your partner are on the same page before you enforce them so that one parent isn’t taken for granted and the other looked on as a villain. Consistency is the key.
4. When You’re Losing It
Managing children requires a whole lot of patience. When you feel you are reaching the end of the rope, walk away. Take a deep breath and give yourself time to cool off. If you have some assistance at home, ask somebody else to watch the kids for a bit and take a relaxing hot shower or a rejuvenating brisk walk. Yelling and venting your frustration physically can scar both you and the child and make things unpleasant.
5. Breaking Your Own Rules
Children are experts when it comes to mimicking behavior, especially bad behavior. For example, if a father keeps his desk at home cluttered but expects his daughter to put away her toys after play, it’s asking for a bit much. As parents we need to be role models ourselves for children to emulate.
When I needed disciplining as a child, all my parents had to do was to talk to me in a stern tone for me to understand I was in the wrong. That technique still holds good and works for me with my children too. However, this is something that needs to become a habit at a young age itself. When a child is used to being constantly yelled at, a firm tone will not make a difference. Listen to your kids and respect them, however old they are. Even a child as young as two years has his thoughts and feelings in place. By listening to what they have to say and being polite in your demands, the child learns that he needs to reciprocate that as well.