Every parent confronts discipline problems with their children. Even the best children sometimes test their parents resolve to draw lines and stick to them. Unless discipline is handled correctly, it will only result in bigger problems the next time that it is needed. Learning how to set rules and stay with them is the biggest task that most parents face in child rearing. A few simple rules can make this process somewhat easier and result in better discipline being administered to your children.
Learn to control your own anger first.
Children learn how to push buttons. They like to push buttons on phones, televisions, toys, and parents. If a child discovers that pushing certain buttons will cause you to become flustered and angry, those buttons will become their favorite toy. You may think that if you get angry, the child will be frightened into better behavior. However, it does not take long for the child to realize that remorse often follows anger. It your children learn that you will get angry and then give in because you feel guilty for being angry, they will use this to get their way. Discipline is much more effective when it is meted out from a calm rational mind instead of one clouded by anger.
Practice acting instead of reacting.
Your first response will many times be a reaction to a behavior that you would like to correct. This response will generally only punish the behavior and not modify it. If the action requires a punishment, do not be afraid to dole out consequences. However, whether punishment is needed or not, as a parent, you must look at the situation and make decisions that will change your child’s direction so that the behavior is corrected and not just punished.
The problem may not be the bad behavior. The behavior may just be a symptom. By acting instead of reacting, you can determine why your child did this thing and attack the cause or root. It might be a lack of attention, or the child may feel a lack of control in his or her life. Figure out why it happened, and you will solve the problem most of the time.
Avoid comparing your child his or her siblings when dealing with behavior problems.
Tell the child that a sibling is better than that child only feeds sibling rivalry and resentment. Each of your children is unique and must be treated somewhat independently from the others. Whether you realize it or not, you do not treat every child precisely the same. How the child perceives the parent’s attention will affect how the child acts. Try to give each child his or her own place in your attention and affection. Let the child know that any reward or punishment that is received will be based only on that child’s actions.
Do not act like you have been damaged every time that a child acts up.
Guilt only works so long. Eventually, the child will come to understand that it is not their problem if the parent feels embarrassed by the child’s actions. Make sure that you child sees that the one being hurt the most is the him or her. Instruct the child in how society views bad behavior. This will give you an opportunity to guide the child into learning how to make the adjustments to more well behaved at all times.
Do not be too willing to defend your child when social or school rules have been violated.
Many parents operate on the innocent until proved guilty premise. This works pretty well for our court system. However, unless you are willing to recruit 12 of your child’s peers to act as a jury, you may want to keep a more open mind. If your child learns that you will always assume innocence no matter what the crime, he or she will not learn the restraint needed to become a good citizen. Reserve you innocent opinion until the facts are in. Most children look back later in life and appreciate a parent who supports the school rules even if it means going against their own child.