Although discipline tactics and time-outs can be a more unpleasant part of raising children, it is necessary to recognize naughty behavior and act accordingly to ensure your little one knows right from wrong. It is absolutely essential to reward and reinforce good behavior while also making it very clear to guide your child away from acting inappropriately. There are many different methods to discipline your child depending on your child’s learning style and your own personal preference. To be most successful in disciplining when your child acts out, it is important to use a variety of tactics to see which one works best for your family.
Time-outs are just one of the many techniques to choose from, but should not be used alone. Time-outs should be used as a break in communication between child and parent, allowing for the child to practice calming his or herself down. This not only lets the child know that what he or she did was wrong, but helps to establish self-control and encourages independence. Here are three tips that we recommend:
1. Punishing your child for every little thing he or she does will not do anyone any good. It is extremely important to help your child form healthy habits and learn that it is wrong to act violently, dangerously, or inappropriately. Figure out what is most important to you. Differentiate the behaviors that are absolutely not okay and the behaviors that are indicative of early childhood. For example, will you reprimand your daughter if she insists on wearing the same pink skirt for a week or would you rather instill the notion that biting is very bad? It is absolutely normal for children to have bouts of anger, confusion, and frustration and it is our jobs as parents to help them. If you punish your son or daughter every time they cry, this may confuse your child into thinking feeling sad, angry, or upset is wrong. Choose your battles wisely in order to properly discipline your child.
2. Consistency is the key. Your reactions to your child’s behavior must be consistent in order to help them understand the difference between good and bad behavior. There is no set schedule or explicit guidelines to follow to ensure your child will stop behaving inappropriately; therefore, it is important to consistently reinforce your corrections. For example, if your child is using hitting to communicate, use a similar tone of voice and volume to state that this is not okay.
3. Be clear, short, and simple when disciplining your child. Although it may be difficult, try not to get emotional. For many of us, it is hard not to give in, reasoning through lengthy conversations of why this is wrong. This may do more harm than good, confusing your child into thinking that the bad behavior is acceptable. Keep it short and simple by speaking in short sentences, using expressions, and a stern tone of voice. Repetition is helpful as well, establishing these lessons and allowing for them to sink in.
These are three of my most influential discipline tips I have found to be effective in raising a well-behaved and confident child.
Hanson, Cynthia (n.d.). 7 Tips for Disciplining Your Toddler. Retrieved July 15, 2013, from http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/discipline/tips/7-tips-for-disciplining-your-toddler/?page=3
Blog written by Rebecca Eisenberg. View more of Rebecca’s work here.
- Disciplining Your Child – Why & How (roomtogrow.co.uk)