There are many ways to effectively discipline your children, but there’s no one right way to do it, and not all methods work as well for everyone. If you’re struggling to nip your child’s misbehaviour in the bud, keep these discipline tips in mind:
1. Keep rules to a minimum
Rules make children feel secure and create a sense of order. Interestingly, too many or too few rules can create similar insecurities and fears. Therefore it’s essential to find a balance. It helps if you can get your child to agree with you on certain rules. If you say, “It’s not nice if someone hits you, is it? The rule in our house is that we don’t hit anyone else, ok?”
A few rules that are essential for the safety and wellbeing of your children will be far better than a long list of strict rules, which will inevitably either crush your child’s spirit or cause them to misbehave even more.
Make sure the rules you decide on can be enforced. Remember, sometimes younger children may need to be reminded of rules because they forget them when they’re excited.
2. Consistency is essential
If a child is punished for transgressing a rule today, but gets away with bad behaviour the following day; if one child is punished for misbehaving while her sibling isn’t; or if one parent enforces a rule, while the other one avoids doing that, it creates inconsistency.
Agree on the consequences of breaking rules when you make them. With mutual prior agreement on consequences, children won’t feel that they are being unfairly treated. It’s preferential if both parents are involved in making rules and establishing the consequences of breaking them.
3. Notice the good things
Positive reinforcement is a critical element that goes hand in hand with discipline. One of the most powerful forms of positive reinforcement is parental attention, which should focus on good behaviour rather than undesirable behaviour.
You can use a star chart to focus on good behaviours.
Our experienced editors work with trained journalists and qualified experts to compile accurate, insightful and helpful information about pregnancy, birth, early childhood development and parenting. Our content is reviewed regularly by our panel of advisors, which include medical doctors and healthcare professionals. Meet the Living & Loving Team and our Online Experts.