Discipline is one of the hardest, most stress provoking things we do as parents. So many time we try and fail to effectively discipline our children which adds unnecessary stress and resentment. Disciple should be focused on teaching more positive behaviors yet it can tend to be more punitive then helpful. Here are 10 ways to discipline that will teach positive behaviors:
1. Give Choices- provide your child with choices. One choice should be the desired action, "You can either eat your vegetables or...." The other choice should be less desirable to the child, "...you will not get dessert". By stating the request in the form of a choice, it gives the child ownership and sense of power over their actions.
2. Playful Parenting Approach- An example is when your child is refusing to do something, rather then yell, you can turn it into a game. For instance, if your child is refusing to go to their room to get ready for bed, you can challenge them to a race to the bedroom.
3. Reward / Praise Good Behavior- by providing attention for positive behaviors your child will be more motivated to behave this way. Rewards will vary depending on the child's motivation and interests.
4. Natural Consequences- this happens as a result of the child's choice. An example is if they break a toy, they no longer have that toy.
5. Logical Consequences- an example of a logical consequence is doing something to fix what their behavior affected. For instance, cleaning up a mess they made.
6. Ignore Mild Behaviors- if you correct every behavior, you and your child will be more frustrated and stressed.
7. Take Away Privileges- this is most effective when you take away something that is important to the child. Its not a one size fits all approach.
8. Create Calm Down Spot- children sometimes need help dealing with big emotions. If they tend to make bad choices when they are upset, creating a calm down space is a good way to teach them appropriate coping skills.
9. Time Ins- this is time that you spend with your child to discuss their behaviors in a calm, nurturing way.
10. Time Outs- time outs can be effective to provide space for you and your child. Time outs should not be used if they turn into power struggles between you and your child.
Amanda Be, LMSW, MBA is owner and counselor at Supportive Counseling Services in Grosse Pointe, MI. Amanda has been a practicing clinical social worker since 2005. She is passionate about helping others lead happier, more successful lives through her private practice, advocacy and volunteer work. Amanda’s main objective is to support others during life’s challenges and hopes these blogs will help. She writes and speaks on topics for parents, counselors and educators.