Knowing how to discipline children effectively and in a healthy way could mean the difference between a happy well-behaved child and a confused and poorly behaved one. Gentle but firm; consistent methods of discipline can help a child understand what sort of behavior is acceptable and expected from them – here are some tips that can help:
1. Consistency, consistency, consistency
To know how to discipline children, you need to know that consistency is the key. Consistent behavior from parents will send out the message to a child that some behaviors are consistently acceptable and that some behaviors always have negative consequences.
2. Lead by example
This is one of the main things for parents to watch out for: do you do as you say? You cannot expect your child not to swear if you do so yourself. You cannot expect your child to be truthful and committed if you break your promises or tell convenient fibs. So make sure you are the behavior role model for your child to emulate.
3. Present a united front
If parents are seen to have different views and methods for how to discipline children this should be discussed and sorted out beforehand. Children don’t need to know about your differences – not only can it be confusing; your child could use this as a means to manipulate you.
4. Have realistic expectations
You cannot expect your child to behave perfectly all the time or to never make mistakes. Children willget angry or upset from time to time; they will act out. Remember to expect age appropriate behavior and understanding from your child.
5. Don’t accept disrespect
There should be certain inviolable rules in any home. One of the rules for how to discipline children is never to accept disrespect. You are the adult in charge and your child shouldn’t be allowed to take you for granted in any way.
6. Give things a positive spin
Rather than say “no you cannot do this”, say “you can do this if or when…” or “you can do this instead”. Couch instructions in a positive manner as far as possible.
7. Understand your child
Sometimes bad behavior stems from a problem – a toddler may just be tired or hungry when they throw a tantrum. An older child who is defiant or taciturn could be having a problem in school. Find out if there is a problem underlying the bad behavior.
8. Never make it about revenge
How to discipline children should never be about being vengeful or acting out in anger. Don’t punish a child before you are angry with them. Instead link the behavior with its consequences. Make those consequence proportional to the infringement.
9. Reinforce good behavior
It goes without saying – if bad behavior has negative consequences, good behavior and outcomes should be encouraged and rewarded.
10. Offer plenty of unconditional love
Along with knowing how to discipline children, parents also need to show unconditional love for their child. Transgressions should be corrected, but the child needs to know that you love them through it all; no matter what.