As you gaze into the eyes of your newborn baby and start bonding, it’s hard to imagine that this little blessing will ever do anything wrong.
But keep in mind that someday she’ll be 2, then 3, then 13 years old. It’s important that you learn now how to discipline the child later.
Luckily, discipline is as easy as one, two, three.
There are only three things you need to remember (and do) to discipline your child effectively.
- Defining Discipline
- Behavior Consequences
- When Behavior Consequences don’t work
- 1. Keep emotions out of it
- 2. Plan Behavior Consequences in advance
- 3. Be clear
- 4. Be Brief
- 5. Be consistent
- 6. Behavior Consequences must follow immediately after the misbehavior
- 7. Behavior Consequences must be capable of affecting the child in some adverse way
- 8. Quantum of Behavior Consequences
- 9. Complement Behavior Consequences with rewards and praise
- 10. Experiment with Behavior consequences
- 11. Warnings don’t work
- 12. Afterthought
- 13. Don’t expect magic
- 1. Parenting Discipline
- 2. Parent-Child Communication
- 1. Be Firm.
- 2. Be Fair.
- 3. Be Consistent.
- Easier Said Than Done
The meaning of discipline is different for people in different circumstances. For Army and Police people, discipline means strictly following a system, irrespective of personal likes, dislikes, traits, habits, etc. For schools, it is a slightly mild form of following the system. For homes, it is further mild as the rules and systems are never so strict at home.
However, most people see discipline as a consequence of fear of punishment … and therefore this concept of discipline seems to be a negative discipline, where people do not desire to behave in a particular manner, but they do so only because of fear of punishment.
Thus an outside force keeps them in discipline. Whenever this external force is removed, people cease to behave in that particular manner.
Positive discipline works in a totally opposite direction. It makes people feel like behaving in a desired manner. This force comes from within the hearts of people.
It takes a little time to settle but it does work. It can be taught and learned. There are ways and means to learn and teach it. After some initial support, it settles permanently in the behavior.
This kind of discipline is also positive because it produces positive emotions and feeling in the hearts of people. People do it happily.
It works on children even better.
Behavior Consequences for children are an important part of disciplining them.
More than 300 years ago, Isaac Newton laid down his third law of motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Since time immemorial, our forefathers have been teaching us: “As you sow, so shall you reap”.
These are universal truths and apply to every person and situation.
We suffer the consequences of actions that we do, which may be positive or negative. Negative actions produce negative consequences and positive actions produce positive consequences. Positive consequences are also called rewards.
For our discussion here, when I say consequences, I mean negative consequences. And when I say rewards, I mean positive consequences.
Experience teaches us what leads to what. Failures and sufferings teach us what not to do again. Success and rewards teach us what to do more and more.
We learn so many lessons from the experience of great hardships. And therefore, we want our kids to learn about negative actions and their consequences without suffering those hardships.
So, what do we do?
We start with teaching our children about small-small consequences about their small-small mistakes, so that they learn to relate their actions with consequences and learn to do more positive actions and avoid mistakes.
Behavior consequences teach kids what to do and what not to do and help them improve their behavior.
When Behavior Consequences don’t work
The most common complaint from parents is, “Nothing works with my kid.”
There could be many reasons for such a situation. However, the most common is that parents do not implement the consequences in an effective manner.
The following are important things while giving effective consequences to kids. If any one of the following is missing, consequences will not work and don’t blame your kids for that.
The most common reason of consequences being ineffective is that when the act of misbehavior occurs, parents lose their temper. They become mad at the kids and forget everything they know about ‘how to give consequences’.
We need to announce and implement consequences in a cool and calm manner. This makes us reasonable and judicious. When we bring our anger in it, kids can sense our anger only and nothing else. They and don’t listen to what we say. They follow the behavior consequences just to cool down our anger, not to learn a lesson from their mistake.
Kids learn better from a calm, composed and reasonable parent, than from an angry and unreasonable parent. So be calm and reasonable.
How to do that … keep reading.
An effective way for parents to keep emotions out of implementing behavior consequences is to plan the consequences in advance.
Make a list of common misbehaviors and write their corresponding consequences in front of the misbehavior. Encourage the child to participate in this list making process. Believe me, kids will have fun doing it. Paste the list on a prominent place. It really helps, believe me.
How does it help?
When the child misbehaves, both the parent and the child know what to do … run to the list … and read the applicable consequence.
What does it do?
Both the parent and the child are eager to find out what consequence is applicable. This makes it a fun. The parents need not apply their mind to formulate a consequence then and there. This helps parents to take their emotions out of it.
Tell the child what mistake he has done, and what consequence have you chosen for it. Be clear in your words and voice. The child must understand clearly about his mistake and the corresponding consequence. You can be much clearer if you keep emotions out of it.
Be very brief while telling the child about his mistake and the consequence. You’ll be tempted to speak a lot and preach. But don’t do it. Hold yourself. Few words will convey the message. The more you speak, more will you lose control on your words, and your emotions will come out in words. Soon you’ll be out of control. So be brief, Speak as few words as possible, in a calm tone.
Be consistent in your reaction. Whenever there is misbehavior, an appropriate and proportionate behavior consequence must follow.
If you give a consequence for misbehavior at one time and ignore it completely the next time, you are being seriously inconsistent. It doesn’t teach discipline to the child.
Children test their boundaries. Your ignoring misbehavior teaches the child that he can get away with it sometimes. So he keeps repeating the misbehavior because he knows that he can get away with it at least a few times. So the misbehaving pattern remains there, even if you give heavy consequences the other times. So Maintain balance and consistency.
Delayed consequences are no consequences because they confuse the child. He can’t connect them with the misbehavior, and therefore considers it unfair, and resents against it. So they don’t teach any lesson to the child. The time interval between an act of misbehavior and the consequences should be shortest possible.
Every child is different. What affects a child may not affect others, and consequence are meaningless if they can’t affect the child. Consequences must be capable of affecting adversely the child to the extent that the child learns a lesson not to repeat the mistake. Withdrawing a privilege which does not interest a child is a meaningless consequence. It will be effective only when you withdraw some privileges which the child enjoys, like watching TV, playing games on computer etc. Evaluate child’s age and interest and choose consequences accordingly.
The ideal quantum of consequences is proportionate to the act of misbehavior. But it is not always easy to draw the proportion. Well, in that case, smallest quantity which causes affects the child adversely is okay.
Remember, too large quantity will certainly cause side effects, may be some serious ones. The child will apply his own judgment and evaluation on the consequences and their quantum. If the child finds it too unfair, he feels punished for no good reason and resent against it.
Too much emphasis on behavior consequences for negative behavior and completely ignoring rewards for good behavior will lower down child’s self esteem. His acts of good behavior go unrewarded. It demoralizes the child. He finds no good reason to behave better. Under these circumstances, consequences further loose their effectiveness. The parents become enemies in the eyes of the child, and he misbehaves even more to tease the parents.
Consequences alone don’t work unless the child is rewarded for good behavior as well. Consequences must be complemented with rewards for good behavior. We need to maintain a balance between consequences and rewards.
Generally, parents choose only a few consequences and keep repeating them for every kind of misbehavior. With the passage of time, kids get immune to these consequences. Now they need new and more effective consequences. So we need to keep experimenting with consequences.
Expand the list of consequences. Be innovative and creative about them. Talk to the kids as well and let them come up with their own ideas. They’ll be happy to participate in this.
‘Barking dogs seldom bite’.
Kids know this intuitively. If you keep warning the child of consequences, he senses your non-seriousness about it and ignores your threat. There is no point in warning. Do it actually instead, and the child will learn a lesson that the misbehavior is not acceptable. The child will understand that you mean business and there is no point in testing boundaries any longer. If you have already warned three times and not done it, you convey a message to the child that he can still has the chance to get away with it.\
Give a thought after the event of consequence is over. Were you too harsh? Was your decision just and fair? If you think you were unreasonable, unfair, or too harsh, talk to the child about it and apologize. It will be a great soothing factor for the child, and strengthen your bond with the child.
Behavior modification takes time. Behavior is a bundle of habits, and habits die hard. It takes at least 21 days to make or break a habit, that too when consistent efforts are made and thee is no obstructing factor. So be patient. Let the behavior consequences work over a period of time. Give them some time. Look for small changes and be consistent about them.
1. Parenting Discipline
Parenting discipline is a precondition for child discipline. Parental discipline creates a conducive atmosphere for the child to behave correctly. Right parenting and discipline go hand in hand. We must, therefore, discipline parenting first.
Children learn from Parenting Discipline
Kids are born with a blank mind. Like new or formatted hard disc. But this hard disc is live … fitted with powerful sensors like ears, eyes, nose, tongue and skin. It can automatically programme itself sensing all kinds of data from its surroundings … without making out any difference between good or bad data.
During early years, children spend more time with us. Therefore we are their surroundings. As they are fully dependent upon us during these early years, we mean the whole world to them. We are their Hero … Superman … their role models. And therefore parenting discipline has a direct positive effect on them.
Parenting discipline: Dad I’m Watching You
As far as our children are concerned, we are the best in the universe. We are irreplaceable and indispensable for them. They want to be like us in every way. Therefore they imitate us in eating, standing, sitting, walking, talking, smiling, laughing, joking, making gestures, attitude, expressing anger or happiness, fighting … and much more.
Children are fitted with extremely sensitive sensors. Sensitive enough to detect, identify and record the message that we emit by our words, actions, body language, gestures or even being silent.
We are under their constant surveillance. Their sub-conscious mind is listening to us even while they are sleeping.
If we want them to do something, let’s do it in front of them. If not, let’s not do it ourselves at all.
So we better watch our words, gestures, emotions, actions and body language. We are the biggest influence in our child’s life, so let’s not miss the opportunity and make good use of it. Making them angels or devils is our responsibility. So, take parenting discipline seriously.
Consistent Parenting Discipline
As parents we are not supposed to surprise our kids by behaving in variety of ways in variety of situations. That would not only confuse them but also make them have a poor opinion of you. We are sensible grown ups. Our kids expect us to behave in a consist manner. If we are consistent in our behavior, our kids would follow it and they’ll learn to be consistent.
2. Parent-Child Communication
Communication is the most important component of any relationship. More so with kids. We pass on our values to our kids through Communication only.
Communication may be ‘verbal’ or ‘nonverbal’. Some times ‘ nonverbal’ communication has a more powerful impact than ‘verbal’ communication. ‘Non-verbal’ communication includes all kinds of emotional expressions, actions, body language, meaningless words or even being silent.
More than 300 years ago, Isac Newton laid down his third law of motion: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
This law best applies to the communication. If we communicate something positive, it brings back something positive to us. Similarly, if we communicate something negative, it brings back something negative to us.
Kids can sense the underlying emotion and message of any communication, and they follow Newton’s third law religiously. They react with the same emotions. So they can’t be blamed for any negative reaction.
You must have noticed that sometimes kids easily agree to what we say but some other times they don’t. Why does that happen?
In the first case, we unconsciously use some effective communication techniques, and in the second case, we do just the opposite.
We can choose to be in harmony with the kids by learning Effective communication with children. Interested? Here are some effective practical tips:
Be a good listener
Parents listening to their kids is the first and most important part of parent and child communication.
Children have lots of things to talk about. All they want is an interesting listener so that they can pour out all they have in their little hearts. This satisfies their sense of importance as well and certainly improves the parent-child relationship. Talking is fun for children and parents need to listen to them. Yes, it needs lots of parental involvement.
If the child doesn’t get enough opportunity to speak out his emotions and little experiences with his parents, the distance between parents and children keeps on increasing … and then parents complain of misbehavior.
Do parents listen to their children?
Listening is the most basic communication skills, yet most parents never do it. They are busy preaching their kids and telling them to do this or that. This brings complete communication breakdown between parents and kids.
Here are some tips for parents on how to be a good listener, and improve their listening skill and communication with children.
Words of encouragement and praises
If your child doesn’t listen to you, praise him for anything you find good about him and he’ll listen attentively. Few words of appreciation and praise get results where criticism and ridicule fail. If you praise him for the good things he does, he is more likely to do good things again.
You can maximize the power of praise by learning how to praise and encourage a child. But remember! everything has a limit. Over-praising a child might do more harm than good. A revolutionary study teaches praise the child for his efforts not for his intelligence or talents.
You think you are improving kids by finding their faults and criticizing them. But do they really improve by our doing this? No one likes to be criticized … including kids. Rather criticism hurts ego and arouses resentment. Nothing kills enthusiasm as criticism does.
If you still find need to find faults in your child, tweak your words a little and convert your criticism into constructive criticism. Criticizing in a constructive manner improves child behavior. There are lots of ways to do that. Want to explore? Here’s how to criticize your child in a constructive manner.
1. Do not argue with your children
‘If you win an argument, you lose a friend’. When we argue with someone, we directly attack his ego, and self-esteem and sense of pride. No one likes it … including kids. Every argument involves sharp criticism, which triggers hatred and resentment. Even if you think you have won the argument, you actually lose, because you have lost all prospects to have a good relationship with that person ever in the future. Every argument increases the distance between two persons.
When we argue with our kids, we complain, condemn, ridicule, scold, shout, humiliate and insult them. This makes the argument much more ugly and filthy. Does this correct the child’s behavior which triggered the argument? No way! The child will be more adamant than ever before. Result … things get messed up more than before. So, why argue with him?
But what if the child starts an argument and you have to face it? Here’s how to argue with your kids and win the argument.
2. Talking to Toddlers
Talking to toddlers is different from talking to older kids in many ways. Toddlers’ mind is not as developed as that of older kids. They have a limited understanding of language and society. Click Here!to find the best source in helping you talk with toddlers in a manner they like and understand. You’ll find valuable audio material here to help to discipline your toddlers, manage their temper tantrums and have a lot of fun with them. It is specially designed for toddlers’ parents.
It opens our eyes wide apart on very small things which we ignore in our daily life, which can make lots of difference in our parenting on a daily basis. You are missing out big parenting lessons without this.
You can begin applying the techniques right from the day you start reading it. The techniques are very simple to apply but they are very effective.
1. Be Firm.
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be strong in stating your expectations without belittling or judging your child.
Being firm establishes parameters and helps children understand their limits. It guides them in the right direction and encourages them to behave appropriately.
“There is a difference between being firm and being mean,” says Ann Douglas, author of 16 parenting books including The Mother of All Parenting Books.
Firmness does not involve constant yelling. In fact, the most successful disciplinarians never raise their voices.
Being firm also does not require anger. On the contrary, it works best when emotion is removed.
By stating in a firm, calm voice, “We don’t hit,” the child learns what is expected. If the behavior continues, consequences are enforced. The rules are clear. The child makes the choice.
Many parents undermine their authority by failing to be firm. Whether it’s through idle threats or tacking on words such as “OK” to the end of a command, children see their parents as weak and able to be manipulated.
It is important for parents to be in charge, says Douglas, “not a tyrant, but in control.”
2. Be Fair.
Being fair implies doing the right thing.
It does not always mean doing the exact same thing for each of your children. All children are different and have unique likes, dislikes and personalities.
Additionally, each child has different needs. “You can’t have the same standard of fairness for every child in the family,” Douglas says. “It has to be custom-tailored to each child.”
Rules and consequences established for a 12-year-old will be different than those for a 2-year-old. Even children of the same age need to be treated according to their own individual needs.
For example, if you have a child who loves to be alone in his room, time-out may not be an appropriate consequence for him, even if it works for your other children. Negative behaviors may increase rather than decrease because to him the consequence is actually a reward.
Additionally, being fair requires that the consequences fit the infraction. Canceling your child’s birthday party because he didn’t take his breakfast bowl off the table is an unfair consequence. Having him clear all the dishes for the rest of the day is more appropriate.
“It’s hard to be fair when you’re angry,” says Douglas. “Remind yourself to take a step back and make sure the offense and consequence are somehow related.”
3. Be Consistent.
Young children are fascinated with cause and effect. If they drop their spoon, Mommy will pick it up. They try things over and over to see if they will get the same response. This is how young kids learn.
It is the same way with discipline. If your rules state that biting leads to a time-out, it should happen that way every time. Your child will learn the cause and effect relationship, and eventually the biting will stop.
Being consistent helps your child make sense of his world.
However, Douglas says, sometimes parents can be too rigid. She suggests “consistency with common sense.”
Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances that lead a child to behave inappropriately. For example, if your child is cutting new teeth, the reason for his biting does not deserve a consequence.
Consistency may also be moved to the back burner if your child or family is going through a crisis. Being sick or overtired, getting a new sibling or moving to a new house are all reasons children might behave inappropriately.
Think of what your child needs before you hand out the consequences.
Easier Said Than Done
The problem with boiling discipline down into three seemingly simple steps is that parents may think the job is easy. Yes, there are only three things to remember, but following through with these steps can be extremely difficult.
“Nobody does this right every day,” says Douglas. Discipline is hard, and there will be days when you fail to be firm, fair and consistent. Anger, frustration and fear often keep parents from using these three keys.
That’s OK, says Douglas. “Take a step back, figure out what went wrong and why, and then get back on track.”
Keeping the keys in mind when you discipline will help you and your children learn and grow in a positive environment based on trust and respect.
And it just may happen that the beautiful baby you are gazing at today will turn into an even more beautiful adult.