Effective discipline

Baby Steps


Thursday, June 05, 2014

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CHILDREN are precious gifts who most times bring joy, but at times they may cause their parents grief and anger when they throw temper tantrums, disobey commands, break rules and do the forbidden — talk back.

For many Jamaican parents the first response is usually to administer the rod, however, experts say there are ways to discipline children without the use of force or a strap.

Her are some effective ways that a child may be disciplined.

Time out

Sometimes the best way to get children to relax and behave is to give them time to sit and be quiet away from their toys, cartoons and things that delight them. Some parents will have them sit in a corner or a bedroom. It is important that during this period parents explain to children what they did wrong and why they are being disciplined this way. It will give them enough time to reflect on their behaviour and hopefully the actions that caused it won't be repeated.

Rational vs logical consequence

Parents will use the rational consequence or what we love to term as reverse psychology to get children to behave. It usually involves giving children examples of what will happen if they don't listen to the adult or parent. For example, "If you don't listen, you won't watch TV and I'll take away your toys". If this doesn't work, the logical consequence is brought into play where the parent actually shows the child the consequence by taking away the toys or privileges instead of simply making a threat.

Lead by example

The clichéd phrase 'children live what they learn' is in fact true. At a tender age the mind absorbs things easily and what they see is what they will do. If a parent is violent towards a child, uses obscene language, places things where they shouldn't go and misbehaves, it would be unreasonable to expect the child to know better. They will believe what they are doing is right because mommy and daddy, their first teachers, are doing it.

Share experiences

As parents, sometimes the best ways to get our children's attention or get them to listen is to tell them of our personal experiences with indiscipline. Let them know that their grandparents never spared the rod and describe to them the different ways in which punishments were received when you got out of line or gave trouble as a child. Explain to them that it is not your wish to do the same but if they aren't obedient you will have no choice.

Rewards or incentives

Parents, at times you have to take the initiative and introduce ways to get children to comply with rules. If it means telling them that if they behave today you will bring them something like a sweet or pastry, maybe even a toy, do it. It is important that if you go this route you stick to your word as children don't forget things. Knowing that they have something to look forward to if they obey your rules, they will make an effort and if parents don't hold their end of the bargain, simply put, your children will begin to have little faith in you.

State rules positively

The job of parenting requires an assertive spirit. Assertion does not mean aggression, it simply means you firmly and confidently tell them what you expect and what you don't agree with and that you expect them to obey you as the parent. There will always be a counter argument from the child or as we love to call it, 'backchat', but if you as the parent have already weighed the pros and cons, stand your ground! Let them know you are in charge and if needs be you may want to also explain why they can't have things their way.




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