Teaching your child to behave is a major part of parenting and requires a lot of time and patience. Not only is discipline important to their growth and development, but new and effective strategies will help you grow as a parent too.Consistently applying certain rules and regulations at home and in school will pave the way for your child to become a responsible adult. Resorting to corporal punishment is not the answer. In fact, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP),
“.. all forms of corporal punishment and yelling at or shaming children, are minimally effective in the short-term and not effective in the long-term.”
Importance of Teaching Discipline to a Child
Harsh words and physical punishments often negatively impact children’s behavioural, psychological and emotional growth. Therefore, you need to be careful about the type of discipline you administer. The child’s age plays a crucial role in determining the method you should adopt. Refusingtheir demands once in a while and eliminating sources of temptation are a start, especially if you have babies or toddlers. Temptations come in many forms, such as videos on your phone, TV, jewelry or even medications. You need to strictly say “no,” even when babies crawl to any area prohibited to them. When it comes to annoying habits, such as biting or throwing food, you need to make it clear that their behaviour is unacceptable. But do so without hitting them or using harsh words. To do this effectively, you need to first learn why a child misbehaves.
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Reasons Children Misbehave
Kids use behaviour to communicate emotions and thoughts they cannot convey verbally. Therefore, to successfully apply any discipline strategies, you need to discover the underlying reasons for their behavioural problems. Here are a few common reasons why kids misbehave:
- They crave attention, especially from parents and family.
- They imitate the behaviour of their peers or someone they admire from television or YouTube.
- They are testing their limits by challenging the rules and limits you have set for them.
- They lack social or problem-solving skills.
- They are seeking independence. They want to do things on their own and show off new skills.
- They do not know how to control their emotions. For this, they need to be taught healthy ways to deal with sadness, disappointment and other negative emotions.
- Last but not least, children misbehave because it is effective. Children quickly learn that sometimes breaking the rules gets them what they want instantly. Whining or throwing a temper tantrum often drives parents crazy enough to bow down to their child’s demands.
How to Discipline a Child
How to teach behaviour to kids varies with age. Teaching a toddler to behave is one thing; teaching a teenager respect is another. However, there are some general parenting tips you can follow to discipline your kids properly and effectively.
1. Determine the Rules and Consequences at an Early Stage
According to the AAP, implementing positive discipline strategies is effective in managing the behaviour of children and helping them stay away from harmful activities. The best method is to teach children right from wrong from an early stage and do it calmly. Try to teach them by example instead of words only.
Set clear and consistent rules. Explain in a calm yet firm manner the consequences of not following these rules. For instance, tell them that you will take away their toys if they do not pick them up and put themaway properly. When you do this, try not to give in to their demands after just a few minutes.
2. Enforcing the Rules Consistently
Setting the rules is one thing; enforcing themwhen your child breaks them is another. Hesitating to do so will result in your kid not taking your words seriously. This is one of the most difficult parts for many parents. To ensure that your child is fully aware of the consequences of their actions, you need to do this consistently.
3. Explain the Reason for the Rules
Try to explain why the rules are there and make sure your children understand their importance, as it is likely to help them follow them better.
4. Know When Not to Respond
If your child is getting a lot of attention for their good behaviour, simply not responding to them is a good strategy when they do something bad or dangerous. It is also a great way to teach children about the natural consequences of their actions. For example, if your child is dropping cookies on purpose, there will eventually be no more cookies left to throw or eat. Or, when children break their toys, they need to learn that they will not be replaced.
5. Be Ready for Trouble
This last strategy is for parents. When you apply strategies to teach your kids manners, be ready for new situations, as children are innovative. Always be ready for the unexpected, as you must be on your toes to teach them to behave properly.
For parents who want to discipline their children effectively, follow the above-mentioned tips to get results. You do not need to resort to physical punishment or verbal abuse. Always remember that the secret to successful parenting is to make your child learn to behave without enforcing any extreme measures.