A disciplined child is almost like a dream come true for every parent. But children are not born that way. Over time they have to be conditioned to become disciplined.
But when we say the word discipline, what’s the first word that comes to your mind?
A firm hand?
When you Google the word discipline, you’ll see that word’s origin is Latin, and it means instruction and knowledge.
So how did we lose the meaning of a simple word like that? When did discipline become synonymous with punishments?
Positive discipline, on the other hand, explores the idea of teaching and guiding kids in the right direction instead of penalizing them for making that mistake. It all begins with parents deciding to change their own attitude towards their kids. Here’s a list of some tips that might help you in this transition.
- Kids are not bad, Behaviour is.
Isn’t this statement absolutely true?
Kids are not evil human beings; rather, it is their behaviour that is bad at times. We, as parents, need to understand this necessarily. Because when we call them a bad boy or a bad girl, we enforce this negativity in their minds as well as ours.
Instead, telling them that they weren’t on their best Behaviour will trigger a different reaction from them too. Behaviour is affected by the environment; hence, it’s better to look at the cause of it like lack of sleep, hunger, tiredness, etc.
- Show the right from wrong
When our child hits another one, the first thing we say is, ‘Don’t hit!’
The child could be hitting for multiple reasons trying to express himself, or it might be his first instinct. It’s crucial that when we correct the child for an action, we give them the right option as well. Do not hit should be, ‘Instead of hitting your friend, ask politely for your toy back.’
This way, the child has the option of knowing what is considered right from the wrong they did.
- Kind and firm are two sides of the same coin
It’s a very tough job to show respect and empathy to the child in every situation, especially the stubborn ones. What your child has done might be right and completely justified in their head, but explaining it to them can be very difficult. Try to be calm and explain that you understand their feelings, but resorting to hitting or screaming is not the right way.
In fact, just by empathizing with the child, half the battle is won. It’ll even help in opening the window of a more comfortable conversation.
- Offer Choices to Make
When your child sees you deciding what the family is having for lunch, they know that you’re in charge. The option to make choices gives them a lot of power and gives them a sense of control. This sense of control often helps them behave with more discipline and adult-like.
For example, during their time out, let them choose whether they would like to water the plants or clean the driveway. And once your child makes a choice, as a parent, you will have to honour them.
- Mistakes can Become Opportunities
The mistakes that kids make are often windows of opportunity for parents to empower them with alternatives. This way, even when parents are not around, the child chooses their actions wisely.
For example, reminding them how it had hurt when another child had hit them, might help in getting your child out of a situation where they might want to punch someone for whatever reason. It helps to unfocus children out of the dang situation they’re in.
- Experiment with Environment
If your child hates a particular activity, forcing them into doing it works only once or twice until the child becomes even more stubborn regarding it. A better option is to let the child transition into doing the activity.
For example, if your child doesn’t want to eat dinner at the table right after finishing TV time, it might be a good idea to take him out for a walk and talk about having dinner and then going to bed. This prepares your child mentally for the activities ahead.
- A Consistent Routine
Children will stick to any routine that’s set by you, only if you are consistent with it. Trying to ensure that bedtime is the same every day gets the child into a habit without realising it. So much so, that for some parents, if they’re out with their kid post-bed-time, children tend to get cranky in their Behaviour.
This process of developing habits in children really pays off in the long run. Even when you’re not around, they’re habituated to following their own schedule.
- Reminding instead of Demanding
Don’t we all like that? None of us want to be spoken in that demanding tone. The same goes for kids as well. They also don’t want anyone to demand; it might lead to them ignoring the message completely.
A much softer and respectable way of doing this is by reminding kids about whatever action has to be done. Instead of ‘You didn’t turn off the lights again, do it now,’’ try asking them, ‘Did you forget to turn off the lights, please do it?’ will get you a more swift response.
- Making Agreeable Mutual Decisions
As children grow up, they begin settling into their personalities and respecting that individuality is essential. Having said that, specific ground rules are non-negotiable in the house. TV time gets reduced if dinner is not finished in time, and that stays the way it is.
Some decisions, on the other hand, like how long can they watch TV on a particular day or how long can they stay out at a friend’s place should be mutually decided between kids and parents. Open communication is the way forward.
- Consequences are Learnings
Sometimes children need to learn their lessons after making mistakes. If they eat too many cookies leading to an eventual stomach ache, they discover a lesson of pain.
As much as your heart goes out to your child, letting them live through the consequences of their actions will ensure they think before doing anything. This encourages responsibility as well as positive discipline in them.
And after trying these ways and methods, if your child still misbehaves with you, do not give up on them and their Behaviour. Do not give them an excuse to act in a certain way because you label them naughty. Try to understand the reason behind them displaying a particular behaviour in a certain environment and then work upon it. After all, behind all those layers of mischief, there’s a child at the end of the day.