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CHILDREN AND DISCIPLINE

Every river needs a bank and every road needs a lane; Likewise, every life needs discipline. “Discipline has to do with civilizing your child so they can live in society,” says psychiatrist Dr. Michael Brody. Yet many kids test their parent’s limits, when it comes to disciplining children.

Let’s be honest:

There are no magic wand or quick fix methods.

Every parent have experienced frustration at one time or another with issues surrounding children and discipline.

There is no one-size-fits-all for all parenting or discipline issues.

So let’s look at some easy and simples ways to good discipline.

Firewalls to Good behavior.

Parents run against several firewalls when trying to discipline their children.

· Children who are disrespectful and don’t listen

· Children who do listen, but defy or deliberately disobey your request for good behavior

Our responsibility as a parent is to help our child become self-reliant, respectful and self-managing.

All the other institutions (like family, relatives, schools, therapists, churches, health-care professionals) can help. But the primary responsibility for discipline rests with parents. The American Mental Health Association describes three styles of parenting.

· The Authoritarian Parent: (S)He has clear expectations and consequences but show little affection towards his/her child. The parent may say thing like, “I say so” or “Because I’m mommy, that’s why”. This is the less effective method of parenting.

· The Permissive Parent: (S)he shows lots of affection towards his/her child but provides little discipline. Parents bend over backwards to meet all the wants of the kids. This is also a less effective form of parenting.

· An Collaborative Parent: (S)He has clear expectations and consequences and is also affectionate towards his/her child. This type of parent employs flexibility and collaborative problem solving with the child when dealing with behavioral challenges. This is the most effective form of parenting.

Choosing Discipline Techniques.

The techniques you choose may depend on the type of inappropriate behavior your child displays. It also depends on child’s age, child’s temperament and your parenting style. The following styles are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and The National Mental Health Association.

Reward good behavior: “Catch them being good.” Compliment your child when he/she shows the behavior you’ve been seeking.

Natural consequences: Your child does something wrong and you let the child experience the result of that behavior. (This does not apply for safety issues.) There’s no need for you to “lecture.” The child can’t blame you for what happened. For example, if a child brakes his/her milk mug in spite of your warning, let him clean up the mess. Let him drink in a different and less attractive mug in the future. Let him experience the results of his action, however disappointing it may be.

Logical consequences:This technique is similar to natural consequences in that, it involves describing to your child what the consequences will be for unacceptable behavior. The consequences are directly linked to the behavior. For example, if he/she doesn’t clean up the toys scattered all over, the child won’t get the toys for a week.

Taking away privilege:There isn’t logical or natural consequence for a bad behavior. Sometimes you really don’t have time to think it through. In this case, the consequence for unacceptable behavior may be taking away privileges. For example, if a middle schooler doesn’t complete the said homework due to video games. Take away his electronic time till his work improves. This works best if the privilege is related in some way to the behavior. It should also be

· Something the child values and

· it should be taken away as soon as possible after the inappropriate behavior.

What About?

Spanking?Corporal (physical) punishment such as spanking is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics or National Mental Association. Why? Because:

· Spanking may make the child more aggressive.

· Spanking can become more violent and harm the child.

· Spanking may cause children to think that it is okay to physically hurt someone we love.

Time outs: It works if you know exactly what the child did wrong. A thinking time. Time-out location should be a quiet and boring place. No bedrooms where he/she will play and go to sleep eventually. Not a place where he/she will get hurt himself. It only works when the children are 3 and older. With about a minute of time-out for each year of age. This works best with kids whom the separation from the parent is truly seen as a deprivation.

In Conclusion

Remember that in the end you are trying to raise a loving child who chooses the right path in life independently. Discipline is just a means of encouraging that behavior through external means. Use it wisely to help build their confidence and character.