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Discipline That Works For Raising Children

Discipline That Works For Raising Children

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1. Reward Good Behavior.

When punishment is the centerpiece of discipline, parents tend to overlook their children’s best behaviors. “You’ll get a lot further with positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement.” Rewarding good deeds targets behaviors you want to develop in your child, not things he shouldn’t be doing. This doesn’t mean you should give your child a pound of chocolate every time he picks up a paperclip. “There are grades of positive reinforcement.” ‘There’s saying ‘good job. I’m really glad you did that,’ when your child cleans his room. And there are times when your child does something extraordinary that may warrant a larger reward.

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2. Use Consequences.

Letting children learn from experiences can be very effective if done properly. Parents can tell children ahead of time what the consequences of exceeding limits will be. Remember that consequences give children a choice, and parents must be willing to accept the child’s decision.

Consequences can be natural or logical. Natural consequences let children learn the natural order of the world. For example, “If you don’t eat, you will be hungry.” Logical consequences are consequences that are arranged by the parents. For example, “If you don’t put your dirty clothes in the hamper, you won’t have clean clothes to wear to school.” Consequences are used to teach responsibility and decision-making. The situation itself provides the lesson and helps to develop a sense of accountability.

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3. Be Clear About Rules.

If your rules are vague, or discussed only when one has been broken, your child will have a hard time following them. “It’s up to the parent to make clear what’s expected of the child and what isn’t.” Be sure to explain the rules of the house when you can speak clearly and your child is not too upset to listen. Practice discipline when it works for you. For instance, when you have 30 minutes to spare, interrupt your child’s game and tell her you need help with something. If she helps, great, do a quick and easy chore together and let her go back to her game. If she throws a tantrum, you have time to deal with it. “If you do that every once in a while, your child will understand that when Mommy says I need to put my toys away, I need to do it.

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4. Stay Calm.

Anger can “turn off” or “tune out” your child. It may make the corrective action ineffective. It may also create unneeded power plays. Any kind of punishment done calmly is more effective than that done in anger.

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5. Be Consistent About Rules

Sometimes sticking to the rules is as challenging for parents as it is for kids. Too many parents turn the other cheek when their kids talk back or otherwise act out. “Parents just are not consistent in enforcing rules.” Not enforcing your own rules puts everything you say into question. “If kids don’t know what to expect from their parents, they never really know what the rules are. You may want to back down for fear of ruining your child’s fun. Keep in mind that kids benefit from limits. Rules and structure give children the security of knowing their parents are watching out for them. As kids get older, you can take a more flexible approach. Around the ages of 9 and 12, kids should get “a little leeway to test out the rules. “But always be very careful about safety.”

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6. Set An Example.

Discipline is best taught by example. Model Good Behavior. Like it or not, your children are watching you. You can dole out as much advice as you want, but your personal conduct makes a more lasting impression than your words. “The number one way human beings learn is through imitation and copy.” If you want your child to be honest, make sure you practice honesty. If you want your child to be polite, let her see your best manners, at home and in public. The fact is, raising disciplined children is not easy. Despite your best efforts, there will always be good days and bad days. Even after years of working with families, all four shared stories of their own children’s meltdowns or misbehavior. “As a parent, you’re constantly pushing your own limits. It’s the toughest but the greatest job I’ve ever had.

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