Parents want the best in life for their children, a major part of their time and effort is directed towards their child. Children are always their priority and raising them in a healthy environment and taking good care of them is all that they could think of. Parenting is not inherent, it’s an art that has to be cultivated. Sometimes as a parent while dealing with our children, we tend to forget our childhood, its joys, and sorrows, its pleasure and difficulties. Things which children enjoy immensely like splashing in a muddy puddle, borrowing in the sand, imitating teachers, frolicking in the rain, this might seem useless to parents and the only thing they look for is how to discipline them so that they don’t make them embarrassed in front of others.
Remember discipline does not mean putting an undue restriction on children. It is an ongoing process that requires giving specific instructions that are clear cut with a lot of clarity. As every child is unique and acquiring new skills every day, parents need to be patient and should not treat them like a puppet. The right kind of discipline is one of the keys to having a happy home and is also essential for the holistic development and well-being of every child. Discipline varies with age, needs, and situations.
15 Ways to Discipline Your Child
Satisfaction of Basic Needs
Conducive environment at home is very vital to promote proper physical and mental growth of the child. They should be given adequate food, clothing and other basic needs. They should also be given enough opportunity to relax and rest. Child should be protected against any difficulties. As we know food and temper have a direct correlation. A hungry child gets moody and start rejecting their food if their meals are delayed. Even not getting proper sleep and rest makes them irritable and cranky and can reduces concentration. Also watch out for signs of physical fatigue in your children. If the child is tired and exhausted this may cause screaming, yelling and answering back.
Home should be a Happy Place
Relationship between parents and children should be balanced. Children should feel secure and well adjusted in their houses. Home should be a place where you can be yourself, so give them an environment where they can share and grow freely. Remember children from happy homes are more social, outgoing and adaptable. Give them free time to play as they can develop better imagination.
Be a Role Model
Children observe and imitate their parents. They pick up any thing and everything they do, be it words, actions or mannerism. Thus, if you want your child to read books, read them yourself, if you want your child to speak truth, be honest yourself. There are two pre-conditions for the establishment of strong identification with the parents. First is, genetically inherited traits which are natural, like color of eyes, way of walking and talking etc. and second is, psychological attributes. Therefore parents should possess some ideal qualities which could be inherited through direct observation.
Do not Label a Child
Avoid labelling a child. Sometimes we hurt a child unknowingly. A child might be stubborn, slow, clumsy or difficult. And unconsciously we start labelling their actions. For example we may say things like you are really clumsy, look at the way you are carrying your glasses, or You have become too stubborn, Why don’t you listen to me at once and so on. If we frequently labeled them, this bound to affect their self-esteem or make them angry and frustrated. While talking to a child, it is best to speak slowly and choose words carefully.
Be impartial and fair to all the children at home, irrespective of their age and sex , this can lead to better acceptance of rules made by the parents. Fighting, hitting, teasing are regarded as part of growing up for boys, while girls are discouraged when they show such behavior. Girls might tolerate this discrimination till a certain age but some time they will certainly revolt. “Why do I have to come at 7 p.m. when didi can stay till late? Why do I get less pocket money then bhaiya? These questions can be piercing but are relevant. If the parent feel their action is justified, they should explain as communication makes lot of things simpler.
Catch them Young
Children at younger age learn things faster. They are capable of mastering anything and everything they see and learn. So if you want to inculcate any good habit, this is the time. 3 Golden words like Sorry, Thank You and Please are generally picked up by them very fast, as most of the parents make an effort to use these words frequently in front of them. Similarly simple commands if said in fun rhyming way like, it’s time to wash your hands , wash your hand, wash your hand; Its time to put your toys away, toys away, toys away, can actually make them gather all the scattered toys. Therefore, add fun with learning.
Play with your child
Time spent with children never go wasted. Play with your children before they get too old to play with you. Give your 100% attention to them and enjoy the time spent as you may not get another chance. Clear your mind and put your problems at bay. Focus exclusively on the child and show them that you really care about them. Children need your attention, and sometimes they will misbehave, just to attract it. When you spent quality time with them, you are indirectly telling them that you love them and they are important to you. Playing encourages healthy mental and physical attitude. This way you will not just make your child happy but could identify their talents and sharpen their skills.
Appreciate your child
If you want your child to be disciplined or perform well, it is important to nurture their self-esteem, as it is the central element to have a child with high self-confidence and self-love. Self-esteem cannot be built in a day; it’s a process which takes time but can be achieved if done with persistence. Praise boosts the morale of the child, it encourages them to achieve better result. But remember don’t over do it and do it when it should be done as they are very smart and can detect false praise. Children feel excited on smallest of achievements and if they are not praised by their parents it could lead to disappointment and rude behaviour.
Respect their Privacy
This is especially true in the case of adolescents. It is imperative to be vigilant at that age but at the same time as a parent we should know our limits and do not suffocate them. Twenty four hour supervision is not necessary. In fact, they feel irritated if put under this kind of surveillance and they may react adversely. As a parent we should understand that privacy is an important aspect of sexual development. Teenagers are very conscious about their appearance, so never tease or ridicule them about the physical changes taking place in them. Trust them but be alert for any unexpected changes in their behavior. If you give them space, they will give back respect that every parent deserve.
You can never compare your life with that of your children. Things have changed drastically and the earlier we accept the better we get with parenting. Look at the tremendous pressure they feel academically and socially. Increase competition, comparison, peer pressure, excelling in extracurricular activities, expectation from parents and from the society are few examples that has made their life extremely backbreaking. A sensitive child many get traumatized and this can lead to anxiety and other mental health problems. Before addressing any problem , it is a good idea to assess the feeling of the child. A different approach has to be followed in each case.
Be a good listener and have heart to heart talk
A healthy talk ensures that many problems are solved by mere exchange of words. Listening attentively to a child is very important for it sometimes gives us a clue as to why he is behaving badly or doing what he/she is doing. A family that eats together and prays together, stays together, is something being emphasized in Indian society. And I feel its true, the more we communicate the lesser we assume and the lesser we assume the better we understand each other.
Immediate Reward and Reprimand
A reward encourages good behavior and discourages bad one. Immediate reward for good behaviour is a very effective technique for disciplining. Never deffer reward to another day as immediate gratification leads to positive results and good behaviour. Remember two things, firstly delayed reward may break the association of stimulus and response and may become ineffective, secondly, the rewards need to vary as some children get used to certain rewards and will not act without it. Same way reprimand immediately will have more disciplinary value. If we delay in reprimanding, the child might think that the parent is weak and ineffective. Here it is important to set some ground rules and both the parents should agree on that. Both parent should be equally effective in correcting their child’s behaviour.
Set time limits
It is a good idea to set clear time limits for work, play, entertainment and going out. The child should know that he/she has to adhere to a set schedule and what is expected. Children also feel comfortable when they do things in time. Make them aware that time limit may vary and they need to except that fact. Also, let the child face the consequences if he or she breaks the set time limits.
A child has to learn to make up for everything. Be it something lost, damage or taken away. They have to learn to make amends for impolite, rude or careless behaviour. They should also learn to take responsibility for all their deeds and should be aware about the consequences for all their actions.
If the child is behaving in an exceptionally destructive or aggressive way, he/she should be asked to sit in a corner without taking part in any conversation or any activity. The period of isolation is to make them realize, introspect and calm down. This work wonders as children do feel sorry after a specified period.
Remember, It’s in the parents’ hands to mould their children into perfection. Haim Ginott has rightly said – Children are like wet cement, whatever falls on them makes an impression.