3 Secrets to Effective Discipline
Don't spend your time in endless yelling matches. Keep these three principles in mind and you'll be able to discipline your kids more effectively and lovingly.
- Focus on what you really want. When you’re frustrated by the daily mini-disasters, remember that this stage doesn’t last forever. Resist the temptation to want to “win” every disciplinary interaction with the child; the goal is not winning, it’s helping her grow into a successful adult. Focus on the larger issue at hand; you're not just upset that your child lied to you in this circumstance. It's more important to teach the principle of lifelong honesty,
- Know your child and his/her abilities, and don’t compare him/her to siblings or other children. Understand your child’s cognitive development and his or her ability to make decisions or understand complex instructions. You know your child’s strengths and weaknesses, but resist comparing your child’s weaknesses to a sibling’s strengths or to another child’s strengths. Children understand quickly when the standard for parental approval is another sibling’s accomplishments, and the results are rarely positive.
- Be consistent and clear in your expectations and outcomes. If you don’t take the rules you have set seriously, it is doubtful that your children will either. Decide and make clear your rules for your household. For younger children, issues of health and safety can quickly define the boundaries. For older children, the privileges of independence need to be balanced with the responsibilities of young adulthood. Regardless of the child’s age, make clear the basic expectations and consequences for bad behaviors. And then stick to them!