Too often, parents give little thought in advance to managing inappropriate behavior. One method that can reduce frustration for parents and children is to use a discipline program. Below are some suggestions.
Learn about the child’s behavior at different stages of development. Try to understand emotional development and why children behave the way they do.
Develop a discipline plan before you have children. Parents should base the plan on what they know about the child’s psychology and what experts recommend.
Correct inappropriate behavior, but do so calmly. Encourage discussion with the child.
As the child develops communication skills, discussions about behavior are planned. Draw from examples in stories or real life events. Ask questions that require the child to make decisions about values.
Don’t take bad behavior personally.
When misbehavior occurs, apply a consequence that fits the previously developed plan and do it as soon as possible. Postponing discipline is bad policy.
The punishment (consequence) must fit the crime. If a child loses a friend’s toy, you can ask him to replace it with a toy. If she doesn’t have a piggy bank for resources, she can do chores around the house to earn money.
Do not threaten. Parents should say what they mean and mean what they say. Children quickly learn to identify threats and how to ignore them. Threat will kill the best laid plan.
Children are people too. They thrive on the right kind of attention and develop healthy emotions through healthy, non-threatening relationships with significant adults in their lives. Parents don’t have to be malicious. they need to know why they do what they do. They must be confident that they will act in the best interest of the child. Parental actions should encourage mutual communication and emotional growth without fear.