Child discipline is a topic really close to my heart. Once you become a parent you realise how important it is. If you think its another way of controlling your children then your wrong.
Imagine you’re in a showroom and a child is pulling his mums dress, coaxing her to buy him a toy. Another one at the restaurant is creating a ruckus, throwing food around and spilling drinks.
Or the commonest one, I am sure you all must have witnessed this, temper tantrum on the floor of the supermarket. Disciplining a child is no rocket science. You should also know why it’s important to discipline your child. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. And there is definitely no need to find revolutionary ways of doing it. Especially in these times when you have tons of research and new strategies coming up every day, all aimed at helping you discipline your child without yelling or spanking.
There are many techniques to discipline your child in a subtle and gentle way like behaviour modification, emotional coaching, boundary-based discipline, etc. A word of caution here: the successful implementation of any discipline technique lies not only in the choice of your method but also on “how” you implement it.
Here are a few common reasons as to why most child discipline techniques fail and how to make them work
1. Stand your ground.
Let’s start with an eg. you have decided to limit screen time to only 1 hour a day. You explained this to your children and you expect them to abide by these new rules. Except these are kids and they need multiple warnings and instructions to completely understand and follow new rules. Also because they love to test us, experiment and play with our moods especially anger. They like to see how far we can go in instilling the new rule. Will we budge if they asked us 10 times?. Or maybe if mom is saying a no, dad might answer with a yes.
So that is how their brain works. And trust me it’s not to trouble you or test your nerves, it’s their inquisitive nature. So next time your child asks you to watch tv or get some screen time after his daily recommended limit is over, you just got to stand your ground and answer “no” or divert them saying “you can play with your blocks” or “let’s read a book”, reminding them the rule at the same time.
2. Reiterate the rules
Always remember your dealing with kids, who have little minds and a minuscule interpretation power. We often find ourselves amidst a heated argument with our kids saying something like “how many times do I have to repeat” or “no means no”.
This happens when we think the little human in front of us is an adult with full thinking capacity, which he/she isn’t. So never refrain from reiterating the rules. It’s the most important step that will help to successfully implement any new rule.
3. Don’t break rules because it’s convenient for you.
Many times, discipline is not maintained in the house, without the fault of our kids. The reason being, we became weak and we eased the rules. For eg., If you are cooking or between a zoom meeting and your child asks to watch tv. The way you react to this demand is going to determine how successful your new rule will be.
Consider it your test, which means it’s going to be tough.
So be mindful and give it your best shot. Either turn the flame low or excuse yourself from the meeting and tell your child that he cannot watch tv because its not tv time yet.
Obviously, kids don’t listen at one go but stay firm and make him understand that just because mum’s busy, it doesn’t mean he can get his way. Then you can continue your work.
What happens most times is, because we are so busy, we tend to give in, to our child’s demands. Only so we can save ourselves from the ruckus that would follow.
4. Keep your glass filled.
One cannot pour from an empty glass. Instilling discipline techniques or applying new rules requires hard work. Especially if you are dealing with toddlers. Their ability to irritate you when they want something, is worth appreciating.
If there is something bothering you from work or the laundry or simply because the kids are acting out today, then take a break. If you choose to push yourself in such situations then it will only hamper your own mental health. Choose your battles well. Attempting to uphold rules at all times might be a little too much for you or the kids at some point.
So cut yourself some slack, and get back with a bang. These are deciding moments in child-rearing. When you are bogged down by emotions like anger, frustration or plain exhaustion, try to refrain from handling the kids until you have blown some steam off.
These are the times when children tend to turn rouge and act out. You might vent it on the kids because, at such times, even the slightest of provocations is enough for a mom to turn into a “monster”. I can understand how hard it gets, to hold everything together at times.
5. Don’t leave the child confused
Another very common mistake that most parents commit is having on-off rules.
For eg. If the child asks for candy just before sleep time, then you say no and explain to him that it might spoil his teeth and candy isn’t good just before bedtime.
But on another day when you had something urgent to do, you gave her a candy just before bedtime. Now you have left the child confused about rules for candy before bedtime.
After this incident, you will find your child asks for candy before bedtime more frequently, because she knows the rules were bent once and they can be broken again. All she has to do is coax mumma a bit more.
Parenting might seem like a bed of roses from afar where you get to enjoy the cuddles and kisses. But in reality, it’s tough, mostly because kids didn’t come with a manual. We are left with them, to figure out things on our own. I hope this article helps you to make your parenting journey a little less arduous than it already is.
This blogpost is written as a part of #MyFriendAlexa 2020 blogging challenge organized by Blog chatter.
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.