There is a misconception by some parents that discipline has to be confrontational. While it’s true that disciplining a child isn’t always fun, there are ways it can be done to take the sting out of it. The truth is that there are many ways successful parents discipline and this post will reveal 3 that I have used many times successfully.1. Communication is very important even with smaller children. I love using time out as one of my strategies. That doesn’t mean though that I am going to place a child in time out immediately when something occurs that I don’t approve. Therefore, the discipline strategy would look like this. “Bobby- get down from my couch please or you’ll be in time out- and I know you do not want that.” At this point, either Bobby gets down or he goes into time-out. One thing I typically do not do is give a second warning. But- Bobby had a chance to listen. Many times, when a child knows the consequence they are going to be given if the behavior doesn’t improve, it approves the likelihood that the parent will get what he/she wants.
2. Staying vigilant is also one of my keys. When a child has too much down time, he/she is going to find a way to fill it. Although I have every right to consequence a child when a misbehavior occurs, I will sometimes fill a child’s time with something I want. Therefore the gentle discipline would look like this. “Bobby- get down from my couch. I need your help with the laundry now.” You would be surprised the amount of times I have seen a child misbehave simply because he/she is bored. Giving them a job or activity can be all it takes to make the misbehavior stop.
3. Make your voice level match the moment. There are few instances where yelling gets a parent what they want from their child discipline wise. If a child does something dangerous and your voice shows concern, that will get more mileage than if a parent demonstrates an out of control temper when Bobby spills his milk on the floor. Even if a child should known better if a certain circumstance, recognize an accident from something done purposely and save the mean voice for the most serious of occasions. If a child hears your mean voice too often, he/she will eventually grow numb to it. I typically take a gentle yet direct approach with my voice and I have had the toughest of children respond positively to it.
In closing, there is no full proof or one size fits all plan. Without knowing the particulars of your child, I can’t come up with a customized action plan. I will say though when my simple steps are applied consistently, you will see over time how much more often you will be able to gently discipline your child and still see a positive payoff.
Thank you for reading. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll write to you again next week.