We think of discipline techniques as something harsh, tough, cruel. Discipline isn’t just about exposing your kid to the consequences of their actions. Instead, it is about helping the child gain the skills he/she needs to become an independent adult.
When it comes to parenting, It is only when you have kids of your own, then you will realise the importance of disciplining them. If you are a parent then you would know that raising kids is the biggest responsibility of your life. The simple reason being you are entrusted with the job of shaping good humans who will enter the world tomorrow. They will live their lives, interact and engage with people, form relationships and the basis for all of these tasks is going to be your teachings, your principles, your hard work.
The definition of discipline is quite harsh, and in its true sense, cannot be applied in a house with kids.
Discipline is the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behaviour, using punishment to correct disobedience.Oxford dictionary
Pretty tough right? That’s not what I am asking you to begin with. A simple set of ground rules that cover issues related to good manners and health safety, in your own language will suffice.
There are uncountable reasons that will be enough to convince you to have some ground rules in your house if you don’t have them yet.
Basic disciplinary techniques have many benefits :
- It helps develop a sense of safety in kids.
Discipline for me is the ability to control your urges, to not go by one’s own whims and fancies. Now you might argue that applying these for a young child seems unnecessary.
Let me tell you that the foundation of a well-disciplined life is laid way before, in the tender ages. Discipline is important to ensure kids safety.
For eg., if your child is jumping on the sofa, then there is a chance he might fall and injure his head or neck. Your immediate reaction to this behaviour is “don’t jump on the sofa, you can play on the floor”
You did not let your child have his way because it was a matter of his safety.
Similarly, your child needs to know the basics of crossing a road, like looking on both sides. Not adhering to these might lead to untoward accidents.
Discipline should also encompass other things such as eating habits. If you let your child eat whatever she wants, it may pose a serious risk to her health. Obese kids usually come from families with lax rules and genetic history of obesity running in the family.
- It teaches kids how to manage Anxiety.
For children, parents are their first mentor, guide and friends. Your child must have sought help from you on many issues other than just studies. They would have adhered to your advice and done the exact same thing that you said. They don’t like to be the decision-makers.
Kids who come from families with permissive parents have often experienced anxiety because they have to make adult decisions. The lack of guidance and the absence of a parent taking on the role of a leader can be very unsettling for kids. For eg. in a house where both parents are working and the child has to decide his matters on his own, they suffer from anxiety much more than kids who have had parents to guide them.
- It teaches kids to make good choices.
Good discipline techniques teach kids alternative ways to get their needs met. Kids need to learn problem-solving, impulse control, and self-regulation skills from the different situation by facing them on their own. For eg., a child who was reprimanded for riding the bicycle outside his compound, onto the road should face its consequences too. Like confiscating his bicycle for a week. This will help the child understand the concept of consequences when they don’t pay heed to our instructions. It will also help them make safer decisions next time, like not riding a bicycle on the roads.
- It helps kids manage their emotions better.
This is the best benefit of teaching kids discipline. For eg., if your elder one hits your younger one, he might end up in a timeout. Such techniques are helpful as they teach the child to own the responsibility for his actions. It also helps him learn to process his emotions like frustration or anger in a way that is safe for himself and others.
Another discipline technique that works well to help children manage their emotions better is Praise. Yes, you read it right. Whenever you see your child struggling with something, say a tower that he is attempting and you know that he’s just going to give in, any minute now, grab that opportunity to help him process that feeling of frustration by using praise.
You can say “I can see how hard you are working to build that tower, even though it is so hard, your doing good, you will get there”
These words will immediately calm your child and help him regain his composure and in turn, increase his productivity too.
Alternatively, there are some behaviours that you need to ignore like mild misbehaviours. The reason being, we need to send a message to our kids that things like whining, troubling your sibling will not fetch them your attention.
The same message can be sent out during a toddler tantrum in a public place. You do not have to give in to their demands. Because just to save yourself from the embarrassment of people judging you, you might give in this one time. The message you sent out to your kids was “ you can get your way if you throw a tantrum in public” so stay strong and maintain the boundaries and after a few such situations your child will stop repeating the behaviour and using it as a trick to get what he wants.
The root cause of all misbehaviour is to get your attention, so remember this before you give in, to the demand of your children. You might be starting a vicious cycle.
There are many discipline techniques that parents use, some are a huge success while some might not work for you and your household. Choosing by trial and error and finding a middle ground on what works best for you and your child is an arduous process. But that’s a discussion for another day. What is important is having some form of discipline techniques and practising them daily so your kids imbibe these and become better humans.
Do you have a set of basic ground rules in your house?
What works best for your house? I would love to know.
For more parenting-related issues like how to handle teens in this pandemic or raising kids in a digital world, ADHD you can visit my podcast – Doctormommyspeaks Parenting Podcast. listen and subscribe using your favourite app.
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This blog is written for Blog Chatter’s “MyFriendAlexa” blogging challenge 2020