Is there a right way to discipline?

‘Why don’t you just listen?’
‘How many times must I repeat myself?‘
‘Those ears are just ornaments!‘
‘Stop ignoring me!’

These probably sound familiar. But as your child grows older so you need to be more creative in the way you discipline.

Is there one right way to discipline? The answer is NO. As with everything in life, it is different strokes for different folks, and you need to find a concept and technique that resonates with you and implement it. After all, no-one else has to live with your child but you.

If you are not a believer in smacking, then below are some other options you may want to consider, bearing in mind that whatever you decide:
  • you must be consistent
  • as parents you must present a united front
  • try and react rationally and not emotionally
  • discipline from a space of respect and not out of fear
  • choose age appropriate discipline, only then will it be effective
  • before instilling discipline ensure that boundaries are explained and rules established.
Discipline options

Positive reinforcement
Focus on good behaviour as this is the behavior you want your child to repeat, so always praise him for his good behaviour.

Redirecting / distracting
Draw their attention to a better way of doing something, or simply distract them from the unwanted behaviour.

Verbal explanation
Explain what you want your child to do and why, and explain the consequences if he doesn’t listen. Often, if you tell your child ‘you will do this’ without a good reason, they will dig their heels in.

Time out
Most methods recommend one minute per year of child. Choose a ‘boring’ area, for example facing the wall or the door, and refer to it as the ‘be good’ corner or the ‘be good’ chair as you want to reinforce positivity.

Star chart
This starts teaching your child responsibility and consequences to his actions. Set clear, specific goals.

Offer choices
Instead of telling your child to go and brush his teeth, say ‘you have a choice. You can choose to brush your teeth in your bathroom or you can choose to brush your teeth in our bathroom, what do you choose?’  He will feel empowered and because he made the choice he will follow through.

Withhold privileges or things they enjoy
You need to find the trigger that will make him sit up and take notice. For example, allowing him to watch only 5 minutes of TV may have more impact than not allowing him to watch TV at all.

Eye contact
If you find you are constantly repeating yourself, stop! Take back the control by taking your child by his hand, face each other, look into his eyes and ensure you have his full attention, and then ask him to do something. By asking him while he is playing or running past you, you are setting yourself up for failure.

All children are different and react differently to various discipline techniques. You need to find what works for that particular child. 

Being loving and caring yet firm when you discipline doesn’t mean you love your child any less, it means you want what is best for your child and ultimately the whole family.

Have you varied your discipline techniques? What works for you, what doesn’t?
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