While walking in the store the other day I ran into a friend. My friend is one that I have had since I was about 15, a very close and good friend. She is now a mother of 1 and having a lot of trouble with discipline. So my way to help her is to tell her what I know and what I have studied, different methods to give the edge up.
Let us start with the most basic method. Use the word “no” starting at a very young age. Any child that walks around, are old enough to start to learn the word “no.” A great example of this would be if you tell them something is hot, and they touch it and find out that it truly is hot. They won’t touch it anymore. They have learned from the instance. If they are able to remember not to touch something because it is hot, then they are old enough to know not to touch something because mommy or daddy said no. So let us start with that. Yea, they break your heart sometimes, they poof their lower lip out, and they look so cute that it’s hard to resist them. Attempting to resist their pouts brings us to our second consecutive lesson.
When you as a parent or guardian say something, stick to it. Don’t make a rule and bend on it because you feel bad. If you say that a child is grounded, guess what, they are. Don’t say something and then feel bad and take back the punishment. That is instability and a child will know that if they got by with it the one time then they can do it again. Now don’t make unreachable goals for your punishment. Don’t ground them for a month and expect them to understand what for. How I calculate it is by their age. A child between the ages of 3-6 you can ground up to a week, depending on what they did. For the terrible instances ground for a week. For a three year old it’s more like take away their favorite bear. My children barely ever get ground for a week; it has to be something catastrophic for it to occur. The only reason for that is after a week the child really does not know what they have done wrong in the first place. So make sure that you are grounding them for a good reason. Ages 6-18 I would go for something like 1-2 weeks grounding. I still would not use the month, simply because I have saw children that were grounded for a month before, and they got to the point that they really didn’t care if the parents grounded them or not because it seemed like they were always grounded. Basically it causes so much more bad behavior.
Lastly look at the situation and try and see it from your child’s point of view. Why would they have done this, what made them want to commit this offense? A lot of times children are punished for reasons that don’t really matter. As a parent we learn to pick and choose our battles, and sometimes we are in the wrong. If that happens make sure to admit that you were wrong and the situation is different than you expected. Children are a blessing and let’s face it the world is not what it was when we were growing up. The world is a lot harder now, there is so much more out there. The best thing about all the different changes is; children were, are, and always will be a blessing. We should cherish them, and not be too harsh, because life changes. Things change all the time, but it’s our responsibility as parents to keep up with the next step.