Disciplining your child

Disciplining your child

Balancing Love and Authority: Disciplining Your Child

Sudha was really angry with Monty 4 year 4-year-old kid. She was tired of things he would probably purposely do to annoy her. This annoyance was more because she just could not handle him.

There were times that she would really get irritated and give him a good beating.

Although that would make her feel a little relieved for some time since the child would sober down for a few moments, then she would feel terribly guilt of the beating and would promise herself that this would not happen. Sudha really wanted someone who could make her child a better person to be with.

Disciplining your childYour cute cuddly children often get you into trouble and check your patience at times. Here are a few tips that would help you tackle the situation aptly.

  • Let your child participate in the decision-making process. This would help him feel important and sharpen his decision-making skills. When he is involved in the decision-making he is less likely to create trouble. Children as they grow up yearn for independence and that is the basic reason for frustration if it is not aptly given.
  • Keep your cool when s/he is becoming noisy. Children often try their tricks on you to gain hold over you. If you can maintain that mental balance then
    • You would be able to think straight and act rationally and
    • Your child would know s/he cannot play the power game with you. Understand, your beating him/her is an irrational act, primarily stemmed due to your frustration of inability to handle the situation. Being able to think rationally also saves you from making the error of giving physical punishment to your child.
  •  Assertiveness is the primary ingredient to disciplining. By this, you get a message across to your child that everything he wishes wouldn’t happen. This increases his frustration tolerance level and you reaffirm your strength in yourself.
  • Confidence in yourself is a must. That way your children develop faith in you. You may not be always right but it is better to be confident and wrong than be under-confident and right. Chances are good enough that you are right most of the time.
  • Punishment should be given only with discretion. Physical punishment should be avoided. The time-out concept is now known to be effective in handling your child when s/he is being difficult.

About Punishment: When, What, and How of Punishment:

  1. Punishment should convey to the child that the act is undesirable not the child. Say “I did not like what you did” rather than saying “I do not like you.”
  2. Be consistent in punishing every time the act occurs. If the same behavior you find cute at one time and you get angry at the second time, then it will in no way stop the behavior. The child will be in a dilemma as to, whether or not to behave in a particular way.
  3. The punishment should be age-appropriate and situation-appropriate.
  4. Avoid withdrawing concessions that you have already promised before the unwanted act. You may however refuse to give any further gifts or concessions only temporarily.
  5. The punishment should be appropriate. You cannot withdraw all the concessions given to him because he refuses to run a small errand for you.
  6. The gap between the punishment and the act should be almost immediate. If you cannot punish the child right away, then you can at the most, let your child know that you dislike the behaviour. By keeping the minimum gap between the act and the punishment you let the child associate punishment with the act that you dislike.
  7. Reason out with your child at times when it is required why he cannot behave the way he did. However, if s/he refuses to listen then you have to put your foot down and stop any further reasoning, at least temporarily.
  8. Try different ways of reinforcing a particular behavior,
  • Sometimes by giving positive reinforcement like praising him/her. As far as possible avoid giving materialistic gifts. However to start with you can even start with that and slowly proceed to non – non-materialistic ways of positive reinforcement e.g. Patting him, or letting him know he/she has done good work.
  • By negatively reinforcing him. By withdrawing praise or concessions given to her/him.
  • When it is the first time your child has behaved in an inappropriate way, see that you do not punish him/her. This is because you need to be sure before punishing your child that s/he knows the behavior is undesirable. Also at that point let him know what is desirable.

We as parents need to understand that our children, although our own, are different individuals born with their own personalities and makeup. Some points we need to ponder about:

  • As we want to get across to them that their wishes might not happen every time, this is also applicable to us,
  •  We also need to increase our frustration tolerance levels if we are expecting that from a child who is many years younger than us.
  • We need to be tolerant of different behaviors and attitudes even if it means it comes from our own child.
  • We need to trust them as individuals with the ability of their own. We should not ideally interfere in every incident unless the behavior is harmful to them or to others in some way.
  • You cannot make decisions for him at every juncture of life, you cannot make black-and-white decisions as to right and wrong behaviors. You have to empower him to make his own decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions related to disciplining your child:

Q1: What is the purpose of discipline in parenting?

A1: Discipline is about teaching children self-control, responsibility, and appropriate behavior while promoting their emotional and social development.

Q2: How can I set appropriate boundaries for my child?

A2: Setting boundaries involves clear communication, consistency, and age-appropriate expectations.

Q3: What are some positive discipline techniques parents can use?

A3: Positive discipline techniques include time-outs, loss of privileges, redirection, and communication rather than punishment.

Q4: How can I discipline my child without resorting to physical punishment?

A4: Discipline without physical punishment can be achieved through effective communication, consequences, and alternative consequences.

Q5: What should I do when my child displays challenging behaviors or tantrums?

A5: Address challenging behaviors with patience, understanding, and consistency. Identify and address the underlying causes when possible.

Q6: How can I handle discipline when my child’s behavior is influenced by external factors, like peer pressure or media exposure?

A6: Teach your child critical thinking and decision-making skills and maintain open communication to help them resist negative external influences.

Q7: Is there a difference between discipline and punishment?

A7: Discipline aims to teach and guide children, while punishment focuses on consequences for misbehavior. Effective discipline is usually non-punitive.

Q8: What role does positive reinforcement play in disciplining a child?

A8: Positive reinforcement involves rewarding good behavior with praise, privileges, or incentives to encourage positive choices.

Q9: How can I tailor my discipline approach to my child’s age and developmental stage?

A9: Discipline strategies should be age-appropriate, taking into account a child’s cognitive and emotional development.

Q10: What can I do if I feel overwhelmed or uncertain about discipline?

A10: Seek support from parenting resources, books, support groups, or a parenting coach for guidance and advice.

Q11: How can I ensure that my discipline methods align with my parenting values and goals?

A11: Reflect on your parenting values and communicate with your child, so your discipline methods support their overall development.

Q12: What should I do when my child challenges my authority or questions my discipline decisions?

A12: Maintain open communication, explain the reasons behind your decisions, and encourage your child to express their thoughts and feelings.

Q13: How can I promote a healthy and respectful parent-child relationship while disciplining my child?

A13: Build a strong parent-child relationship through active listening, empathy, and demonstrating love and respect in your interactions.

Q14: What can I do when my child’s behavior doesn’t improve despite discipline efforts?

A14: If issues persist, consider seeking guidance from a child psychologist or counselor who specializes in behavior and discipline.

Q15: Are there any resources or books that can help me improve my discipline and parenting skills?

A15: Many resources, such as parenting books and online courses, can provide valuable insights and techniques for effective discipline and parenting.

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