Photo by Nagano Toyokazu
Discipline isn’t (and shouldn’t be) something to be afraid of. There are numerous ways to discipline your kids as a natural part of life. Everything we do has a reaction and a consequence and those who have discipline in life tend to get further than those who don’t, both in business and personal ventures.
For a parent who is madly in love with their children, the act of punishing them is not exactly what I would call a “joyful experience.” I don’t like taking away privileges or restricting them for doing things they love. However, I do appreciate how discipline makes them mindful of their behavior in certain circumstances. And remember, not all discipline is negative. Sometimes it’s a positive.
No two kids are alike, so what works for one child might not for another. And in the same vein, you should begin disciplining them at different times. Here are nine ways to discipline your kids, depending on their attitude and personality.
Give Your Child a Choice
Offering a choice allows the kids to feel like they’re in the driver’s seat, when really you’re just getting them to do one of two acceptable behaviors. For instance, you can say, “you can either clean up your mess now and then go play or you get a five minute time out and then you have to clean up your mess after that.”
Use the Time Tested Time Out
Pretty cut and dry here. Have a “time out” area in your home and when your child acts up, they have to sit there one minute for each year of their age (i.e. my 2 year old sits for 2 minutes).
Clearly Outline the Consequences
If your child doesn’t eat their nutritious dinner, then they don’t get any dessert. This is a natural consequence that they have to follow, not to mention the fact that they’re going to be hungry later. Tell your child “If this happens, then this happens” so they can start to see cause and effect.
Don’t Give in to the Tantrum
Picture this: one of the kids wants to leave the grocery store RIGHT NOW and when you insist that you have to get food for the house they begin SCREAMING at the top of their lungs. If you leave, you’ve given in to the tantrum and they’ve gotten exactly what they wanted because you didn’t want to make a scene.
Try to just have to ride out the tantrum, even if you’re extremely uncomfortable. This doesn’t always work due to the situation you might be in, but when you give in, your child learns what works to get what they want.
Don’t change the rules on a day-to-day basis. Keep your rules consistent and the punishment / reward models the same too. Then, your kids know what to expect and when to expect it.
Enforce Your Rules
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t tell the kids, “if you do that one more time, we’re not going to the pool,” then watch them do whatever it is one more time and still head to the pool. If you say you’re not going, don’t go. Otherwise, your kids won’t respect you when you try to lay down the law.
Reward Good Behavior
Just like negative behavior needs negative consequences, good behavior deserves to be recognized. Find ways to celebrate all the good things that your kids are doing so that they crave more.
Model Good Behavior
I’ve talked about this before, but if you want your kids to act a certain way, you need to show them how to act. Don’t live by a “do as I say, not as I do” way of life. It’s just confusing.
If you yell all the time at home, it doesn’t register as anything with the kids as something to pay attention to. It’s just more noise to them. Work on keeping yourself calm but firm when handling disciplinary issues.
I’ve learned that if you want your kids to have great behavior, you can’t just wish for it. You have to enforce it. But it’s worth it in the long run.