How to Effectively Discipline Your Child
First and foremost, we cannot expect children to be perfect or to exhibit perfect behavior. There are going to be many moments of meltdowns and what most would consider “bad behavior”. The first rule is to accept this and not expect perfection from your child or compare them to others, especially siblings and relatives.
Secondly, when a school or day care advises or reports an incident, try not to overreact defensively and blame the school. Most centers that operate well are not here to shift the blame on the parent. The reason for behavior slips is information on what happened so consequences can be implemented. Raising a child requires teamwork and full cooperation between the parent/guardians and the staff.
Third and most importantly, be open to taking good advice and suggestions since parenting styles will have to change based on the age of the child. By learning to use discipline and consequences you will develop a positive ongoing relationship with your child as they grow. The consequences you implement for a 2 year old will be vastly different than for a 12 year old.
Stickers and charts reward programs are far more effective since children can track their behavior over a period of time. Never punish a child by taking away important things like food, bath time or school.
Meltdowns and screaming episodes should be ignored and the child give a “quiet spot” to chill. It has been proven that the more attention you give to a child during a meltdown, the more they will dramatize their situation. When ignoring the child during these times, simply make no eye contact but never leave them alone or isolated. Leaving children in the garage or dark rooms is the absolute worst possible type of parenting. When you give a consequence for a behavior it should be given immediately. Children do not have concept of time and for that matter very short attention spans.
Positive consequences are when you reward or praise the child for listening and adhering to what you have requested them to do.
Negative consequences are when you let your child know that you are not happy with their behavior and when you implement the removal of privileges e.g. a child misbehaving at the park, simply take them home if they choose not to listen to the repeated instruction. The next time you head out to the park, gently remind them that the same will happen if the unacceptable behavior is repeated.
Last but not least, direct the consequence to the behavior and not the child. Personal attack, criticism will only end in hurting their feelings, self-esteem and confidence. Never compare siblings or children with their friends or family.