Parenting During the Elementary School Years: Discipline
As you learned in Part 1 of Parenting During the Elementary School Years, your parenting role changes to that of encourager. Your encouragement will help your child discover his interests, strengths, and goals. It will also help him develop a positive and healthy self-concept. However, your role as encourager does not mean that you should not discipline your child when necessary.
A fair, consistent approach to discipline begins with prevention. Using prevention strategies can reduce problems and help create a healthy home environment. This allows your child to become more successful, confident, and happy. A lot can be done to prevent misbehavior. This includes establishing a warm and supportive relationship with your child, letting your child make appropriate choices, and modeling positive behavior. You can also establish rules and consequences and hold family meetings. However, no matter how much effort you put into prevention, your child will still misbehave sometimes. This fact sheet will teach you discipline strategies to use with your child.
The goal of discipline is not to punish, but to teach your child to take responsibility for her actions and to exercise control of her behavior. From infancy through preschool, you begin to teach your child about responsibility and self-control by giving her simple rules and chores, as well as limited choices. Now that your child is in elementary school, he is developmentally ready to understand and practice responsibility and self-control. There are a number of discipline strategies that will help you guide your child's behavior and teach these important skills.
Share your Reasoning with your Child
Around the age of seven, your child begins to think more logically. This means that he is better able to make sense of the world around him. This includes the ability to understand your expectations for good behavior and how his behavior affects others. Due to your child's growing ability to think logically, you will be able to use reasons and explanations more often when disciplining him.
However, offering too many explanations may cause you to get into a power struggle with your child. For example, if your child asks for a popsicle before dinner you might say "We are going to eat dinner in 20 minutes. You can have a popsicle for dessert if you want." Because your child is developing the ability to think on his own, he may try to argue the point. If this happens, you may want to repeat your reasoning once and then walk away. By not giving too many explanations, you avoid getting into a power struggle with your child.
Reprinted with the permission of the University of Florida. © 2008 University of Florida.
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