Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Excellence Begins Young

Tips to discipline your child

Discipline is important to teach your child the appropriate behaviour, the difference between right and wrong, and instill family values in a loving, respectful way.

Understand your child

Children are little people who have a limited vocabulary and ability to communicate. They are highly unpredictable and clumsy. An expression of excitement can sometimes turn into an accidental slap. They can be happy one minute and cranky the next. They are possessive and most times have no idea what is acceptable behaviour or not at this young age. All these can really test your patience as they push the boundaries.

It will take time, patience and lots of love and understanding for your child to learn and respect your authority. While every child is unique in his or her own way and should be treated according to individual needs, here are some general tips on how to get started on disciplining your child.
Be clear about the rules. Set boundaries. Be sure your child understands what is right or unacceptable behaviour, and what is not.

Be consistent. If a certain behaviour is not acceptable at a friend’s home or outside, it is also not acceptable at home. We know it can be tough but if we are not consistent, the child can get confused by what is really acceptable and not.

Be firm yet understanding. Once you have said “no”, don’t change your mind. Stick to your rule even when your child tries to bend the rule or change your mind about it. Take the time to explain why you said “no”.

Be gentle. Most times your child will respect your decision when you talk to them gently. It is usually not what you say but how you say it.

Be watchful. Always supervise your child so that they know you are watching their actions.

Be realistic. Remember, what is normal for an adult is not normal for a child. Be down-to-earth and set realistic boundaries or rules.

Be fair. Be specific about what the mistake is. Try not to generalize as this will confuse your child and de-motivate him or her. Be sure not to get personal, so criticize the mistake or bad behaviour but not your child.

Be patient. Don’t hit your child out of frustration because you can’t retract the action after you’ve done it. Just remember that most of the time, your child is just testing and learning and most of their mistakes are unconscious. Try counting to ten first!

Be in agreement. Each parent may have different parenting styles. Try to decide and agree on important and common rules and values that you want to instill in your child. This is to avoid confusing your child. Be supportive of your spouse’s discipline decisions even if you do not agree. Discuss conflicting issues in private so that the both of you can, as they say, agree to disagree.

Be creative. Make it fun for your child to follow the rules. Instead of just instructing your child to do something, turn it into a game instead. For example you may say you won’t tickle his toes until if he cleans up. Be encouraging about cleaning up or having good manners.

Be an example. Your child simply loves to imitate you. So, be sure to set a good example and explain your actions even if they don’t understand why you are doing things a certain way. Actions speak louder than words.

Be a better listener. Show your child that he or she is important by listening. This builds confidence, fosters respect and gives assurance that you will be fair in your judgement.

Be encouraging. When you find your child being good, compliment him or her often or display affection like giving a hug. This positive reinforcement will boost self-esteem and motivate your child to be more positive about following the rules.

Be loving. It’s important for your child to feel loved and secure. Always give your child lots of hugs and kisses so that your child knows that you love him or her, even when you have to discipline him or her.

Credits to Lim Wei Liang

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