01 June 2017
There is a saying that goes: Train a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it.”
Some parents have the wrong notion that disciplining your child means abusing him or always ‘speaking with the rod’. This is however a wrong approach to child discipline and limits parents in raising their kids the right way, causing their kids to just simply be afraid of them. This in turn affects the parent-child relationship negatively and has a long-term effect on the child’s development. According to Dr. Laura Markham, discipline comes from the Latin verb to teach or guide.
Especially in a time where kids seem to grow faster than usual due to easy exposure through television, internet etc., the need for parents to make child discipline a priority is even greater.
Today’s post will give us a little insight into how exactly you can raise your child into a well-rounded, disciplined individual.
Build a meaningful relationship with your child
It all begins with the kind of relationship you have with your child. The only way your child will fully listen to whatever you have to say is when he knows he can easily approach you any time. When there is a common ground of understanding, your child views any correction you may give him or her as an act of love, and not one that is meant to hurt him or her.
Partner with your spouse
In order to discipline your children, you need to ensure that you and your spouse are on the same page. Imagine if you are telling your child not to eat any sugary stuff after 6pm and your spouse is slipping your child some sweets before bed. Not only does this give you and your spouse a divided image, you also confuse your child in the process. You therefore need to make sure you and your spouse agree on a common ground on how to raise your kids the right way.
Identify what corrective measure works best for your child
Every child varies in terms of what works best for them. Even in a case where you have twins, what works for one may not necessarily work for the other. Whereas ‘staying in the corner’ may work for one child, ‘no TV for the next three days’ could prove to be more effective for another and so on. It’s all about simply identifying the most effective mode of discipline to suit your child’s uniqueness.
Be a good example
‘Actions speak louder than words’ apply in every aspect of life including raising your child. Imagine you warn your child against bullying other kids, but you are violent in nature towards your spouse. This does not only confuse your child, but also gives him an indirect justification for his actions since you, his first role model, are not behaving any different. Simply put, kids watch their parents more closely than most parents think. Is what you are asking them to do (or not do) as a parent in line with your actions?
Allow your kids to learn from their mistakes
The natural instinct of any normal parent is to always cover up for their child and if possible even take on the pain their child may be feeling. The truth is, however, that sometimes in order for your kids to learn, they may need to learn the hard way. Like the saying goes ‘Experience is the best teacher’. This may not always be the case, but it usually is. Let’s say for example your child did not study for a test and therefore couldn’t write anything meaningful during the test. As a parent, it’s definitely not a time to step in and negotiate with his class teacher to give him an A anyway. Instead, you need to let your child understand the relationship between his actions and the results: he did not study for his test and therefore failed.
This will help the child realize in this case that if he wants to excel, he needs to make an effort by studying.
Constantly communicate your expectations
Believe it or not, one reason why some children are not well-behaved is because they simply do not know what is expected of them. Usually when a child is unaware of the boundaries he needs to act within, he feels he can do anything and get away with it. This is one major reason why you need to clearly communicate your expectations to your child right from the word go. It doesn’t just end there; they also need to understand why you have such expectations of them. For example you tell your kids they must brush their teeth every night before going to bed. Instead of just leaving it at that, you need to let them understand why they have to do this: simply to maintain healthy teeth and avoid too many painful visits to the dentist.
Chances are if your kids understand why they are expected to do so and so, they will gladly do it because they know it will benefit them in the long run.
Disciplining your child is not always about being harsh. Children often respond to positive words, as this makes them feel good about themselves. Whenever an action of theirs merits an encouraging response from you, they will love to constantly repeat that action. This by no means implies that you are spoiling your child. It simply shows that you do not only notice when they do something wrong, but are also proud of them when they do the right thing. This nurtures them into positive-minded, confident individuals.
Raising a disciplined child is definitely not a walk in the park, but it certainly does pay off when you put in the necessary effort. Plus, when you take the time to discipline your child, chances are you will also have disciplined grandchildren in the future to boast of!