How do you discipline your child? How do you manage Children’s Behavior Problems? Do you keep in mind that children are naturally inquisitive? They just have to know what is going on… and why it is happening. As children mature, their curiosity matures as well. They begin to desire to know your knowledge. They are beginning to start forming ideas based in thought, emotions, and connections, their connections to you. Whereas when children are young, their desires are more self-centered.
Regardless of age, it is imperative that when setting limits, boundaries, rules, expectations, rewards and privileges, that you use age, situation and maturity in their formation. When you discipline your child do you take into consideration the ‘wiggle room’ for the ‘rule?’ Some parents leave little or no ‘wiggle room’ for questioning the rules, etcetera. Some Parents leave so much ‘wiggle room’ that the child has no idea what the rule is! Children of any age do not function well with long explanations, nor do the younger children understand. Therefore, you decide just how much ‘wiggle room’ you want to have.
Although it may not be readily apparent, children strive to please their parents, at least most of the time. If a young child asks “Why?” simply, ask a question in return. For instance, “What did Dad explain to you about playing ball in the house?” if they become too confused, or appear to be experiencing a stress level beyond their ability to manage it, the ask a simplier question, or perhaps just repeat the rule. Before you Discipline Your Child, See what they say. Observe how the child acts. For each situation, alternating between repeating explanations and asking questions will keep everyone on their toes. The younger the child the more time you will have to repeat this scenario. “Because I said so,” or “It is the Rule” are useless responses as teaching tools. The goal is to teach and train not to confuse or frustrate your child, or you.
When you discipline, keep age and maturity level in mind. Ignoring these facts will only block your teaching efforts. Older children and teenagers may require more from your explanation. This age group, especially, the pre-teen or junior high school student, will push as hard as possible to get you to change the ‘rules.’ When they question “Why?” be direct, honest and clear. Re-stating your reasoning is not for this conversation with your child. You may want to revisit limits and rewards as the child ages and matures. So the discussion of your future decisions could realistically be brought forth in a family meeting.
As you discipline, keep in mind that even teens need to have the boundaries and consequences repeated, before the activity. If the ‘rule’ is to be home by 11PM, then no discussion is required when the consequence for being late is invoked. The teen is trying to wear you down, so you do not follow through with the consequence. Again, don’t let them get to you. Patience and follow-through are paramount.
As the teen leaves or asks to leave, you restate the ‘rule’ and the explanation. An example of an explanation might be a reminder of a 9:00AM doctor’s appointment the next day. An example of the language you might choose to use is “If you are not home by 11 PM tonight, you will not be allowed to go to Frank’s house tomorrow after school, because I need you to be fresh at the doctor’s appointment tomorrow. Be consistent; be clear; be calm. There is little doubt that your child will challenge the rules, and consequences, before and after the activity. As you go through the motions to discipline your child, keep in mind, not to make it personal. Keep foremost in your mind the method, ‘rules,’ and consequences you have chosen to discipline your child.
How to You Discipline Your Child?
Younger children are not challenging you, but rather the boundaries that prevent them from getting what they want. It is their job to challenge, to learn to think, and to learn appropriate behaviors. It may be part of the plan to frustrate you though. Don’t let them get to you. Teaching and training are primary; teaching how to think, to understand, and to become a active part of the family whole.
Do not set ‘rules’ or give consequences if you are extremely angry. Take a time out, cool off, and then return to talk with your child. I repeat, do not discipline your child when you are angry. Yelling or anger confuses and frustrates the child and they do not yet have the skills to deal with their responses to these intense emotions. Also, do not set ‘rules’ and consequences that you will not keep. Your follow-through is enormously significant in reaching actual compliance.
Realize that testing and challenging your chosen methods is their way of learning to understand the world around them, and the natural limits that are set by that world. You are a significant part of their world. When your children are very young, you are their whole world.
There have been times that we parents have all experienced the frustrating behaviors of our children. Don’t let them get to you! Learn to identify warning signs for trouble. Create and adapt your parenting goals, and methods. Learn how to teach your children to have great social skills and be safe.
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Text Edited: September 10, 2012
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