Discipline Methods for Parents and Grandparents
Discipline is one of the biggest problems every parent faces. Learning to discipline your children effectively is hard work according to research findings at Oklahoma State University and other universities. Positive discipline is much better than punishment. It is the way parents help their children learn self-control. These controls help the child know what to do and when to do it even when parents are not around to help them.
The purpose of discipline is to raise responsible, confident children who grow up to think for themselves, care about others and live satisfying and useful lives. The type of discipline a family uses strongly influences the child’s self-esteem.
Change the Setting. If children misbehave in the grocery store, do not take them to the store. If church lasts an hour, and children cannot sit still, take them to the church nursery. If your child runs through the living room, arrange the furniture to block the path. Read about child development and talk with professionals like your child's teacher or health care provider to learn what to expect of your child.
Redirect, Distract, or Divert Attention. When your child is about to do something wrong, redirect the child’s attention to something desirable. Redirect a child who is sad about going to bed to comfort a doll. A child who wants to play at Mother’s computer needs redirection to her toys. A child who wants to hit needs redirection to hit a pillow or a ball.
Be Firm. Being firm does not mean yelling or controlling. It means deciding which rules are most important. Think about your values. Carefully teach your child correct behaviors. Show and teach them what to do. Be firm about the things that really matter. Be flexible about less important types of misbehavior. Your tone of voice, words and actions show that you mean what you say. Children usually comply when their parents are firm. Research findings indicate that children benefit from knowing that their parents are in charge.
Ignore Misbehavior. Some children misbehave just to get attention. Once you teach your child the correct behavior, it may be best to ignore attention getting behaviors like temper tantrums or foul language. The same is true of behaviors like silliness or exaggeration. These behaviors reflect the child’s immaturity. Your best discipline tool is your attention. Give children massive amounts of attention when they behave well. Try not to require that your child misbehave to get your attention.
Be Detached. Pretend this is not your child. Imagine that your are correcting a niece, nephew or neighbor. Most parents stay calm when they discipline someone else’s children.
Stay Alert. Deal with the situation before it gets out of hand. Correct the child before you become frustrated and upset. Watch difficult situations carefully. There is not substitute for supervision.
Time-Out is not punishment. It is a special time to calm oneself. It gives everybody a chance to calm down to gain self-control. When children fight or seem to lose self-control, simply say, "You need a time-out." Send them to separate rooms, chairs, anywhere to be alone for a while. There are many ways to gain composure: walking, drawing, listening to music, looking at a book. The type and length of the time-out will vary for each person and each situation. You might set the kitchen timer for a 5 minute time-out. Eventually children will learn to pace themselves and schedule their own time-outs.
Reverse Time-Out is for parents. Take a time-out yourself when you feel yourself getting out of control or angry. Tell the children you are taking a time-out to calm yourself. Your example will help them learn self-control.
Consequences is the name of a discipline method that says, "Experience is the best teacher." It means letting children have the dignity of dealing with results of their behavior. It means not rescuing them. It is not easy. There are many kinds of consequences, natural and logical. A natural consequence occurs naturally. "You did not eat your dinner so you are hungry now. You can eat again at snack time." Logical consequences are rules and amends you and your child make together. "You broke the window so you will have to pay for it." Your comment shows the child you care and understand the child’s feelings. "You broke the toy and wish it still worked." Do not buy a replacement toy. Social consequences teach conflict management. "Jamie does not want to play with you because you knocked over the block tower." Some consequences are positive. "You helped me with dishes. Now we have time for a game."