The Do's And Don'ts of Discipline
All children need discipline. As parents, we need to set limits so our children are safe and happy. But even more important, it is our duty to teach our children the values and self-discipline that will help them become successful adults. Think of your child as a student, and you are the teacher. Good discipline means that parents expect and reward appropriate behavior, and calmly and matter-of-factly assign consequences for inappropriate behavior.
Discipline is only easy after your child has learned to comply with it. That’s why it is so important to decide what the rules and consequences are before your child has a chance to misbehave.
Punishment is part of discipline, but is only a small part. It is more productive to think more in terms of "consequences" rather than "punishment." You are responsible for punishment, but your child is responsible for consequences. The goal is to be so good at discipline that consequences are rarely necessary.
- Do accept your child’s choices if you give options.
- Do accept feelings, because they are valid
- Do earn respect by being kind, firm and consistent.
- Do enforce the rules you set.
- Do earn affection by showing your love.
- Do act fast when it's necessary; but Do think about it later.
- Do realize there are reasons why children can't or won't express why they did something.
- Do give children responsibility. If you give them a job and they fail, don't take it away from them. Give them another chance to learn how to do it right.
- Do learn what is reasonable to expect from a child.
- Do remember that children learn more from what they see than what they are told.
- Don't give children a choice unless you are willing to accept their decision.
- Don't deny a child's feelings.
- Don't demand respect.
- Don't demand a behavior you can't or won't intend to enforce.
- Don't try to buy a child's affection.
- Don't be afraid to make a mistake.
- Don't always expect children to tell you why they did something.
- Don't teach children to be responsible by taking responsibility away from them.
- Don't expect children to behave like adults.
- Don’t forget that as a parent, you must model self-discipline in order for your child to take you seriously.
If a child does not learn from the consequences, then it’s just punishment.
For more information on parenting and discipline, call 553-3000 or toll-free (877) 553-3001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprinted with the permission of the Heartland Family Service. © 2008 Heartland Family Service
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