A well-behaved child is not just in the interest of the parent; having boundaries also makes for a better adjusted child and one who is more at ease in social situations. And one of the greatest challenges for a parent is how to discipline a child in order that you have a happy, well adjusted child who enjoys freedoms but also knows that they come with responsibilities; that there are privileges but that they have to be earned.
To understand how to discipline a child, parents first have to dissociate the term ‘discipline’ with the negative connotations that have become associated with it – discipline is not tantamount to punishment or deprivation of chastisement; rather it is about good behavior, self esteem, impulse control, respect for others, and the ability to handle stresses.
Here are some tips for parents on how to discipline a child –
1. Stay calm in a situation with a defiant child. Remember you are the adult in the situation and if you resort to shouting and yelling, you relinquish your authority and revert to the same level as a child.
Also this teaches a child that displaying anger and losing control are acceptable behaviors
2. Enforce positive discipline. Rather than criticize a child for all that they wrong, tell them that if they had done something another way, that would have been better, and that they could do it another way next time.
If the child has done an incomplete job, in say, cleaning their room, you could say that they’ve put away their toys really neatly, but that they perhaps forgot to make their bed and wouldn’t their room look lovely if they did it all properly!
3. Be consistent. This is one of the bedrocks of how to discipline a child because children are confused and conflicted by inconsistency. If you let a child their cycle on the street one day, don’t forbid it the next for no reason. If not doing homework once induces the penalty of no video games for a day once, then don’t let them get off scot free the next time they fail to complete and assignment.
4. Lead by example. If you want a child to be polite with strangers or when asking for things, don’t let them see you being rude to others. If you want them to have healthy eating habits, eat healthy yourself.
If you want your child to have a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise, don’t just insist that they take their cycle out for a ride, go out for a ride with them, and make it a fun family outing rather than a chore.
5. Don’t just say “because I said so!” to indicate that something is unequivocal or that it has to be done. This is not an effective way how to discipline a child. Rather explain to the child, calmly but firmly why something has to be done or why it has to be a certain way and why it is not negotiable.
Give the child the benefit of an explanation; that courtesy shouldn’t be denied to them just because they are a child.