In General Knowledge for the Family, Parenting

How to Discipline Your Child

It’s hard to deny the fact that discipline is good for a child. Discipline, after all, teaches a child parameters, boundaries, and all sorts of other limits, not to mention promoting good habits as well as character. The debate begins, however, when the discussion over how and when to discipline begins. Specifically, corporal punishment and other forms of discipline have been debated as being abusive for many years. On the other hand, some experts tell us that when done properly, spankings and other punishments are useful and accomplish their purpose  when it comes for you to learn how to discipline your child.

How to Discipline Your Child

The question remains, however: what is the best method of disciplining a child, especially in light of certain child development problems the existence of which have only recently come to light? This article will attempt to suggest some methods of discipline that should help with any child, even those with special situations .

It is important to remember that whenever discipline is administered to a child, regardless of other circumstances, that child’s age should be a primary consideration. After all, if you were to catch your child taking something from someone else, for example, the discipline would be different if that child was 3 years old as opposed to 16 years old.

How to Discipline Your Child: Catch Them Doing Something Right

A few years ago, Kenneth Blanchard gave insightful advice in his bestselling book, “The One Minute Manager: Catch them doing something right.” Fortunately, his advice for managers also works for parents and children too. When parents spend a majority of their time punishing their children for their bad behavior, they tend to overlook the good. It also makes sense that when a child practices good behavior, that their behavior is reinforced.

This does not mean that you should stuff your child with chocolate every time they pick up a paperclip. When a parent practices this kind of reinforcement, you can bet that before long it will be only with chocolate will you get them to do anything. Rewarding your child should be as little as saying something like “Good job,” or “You did that very well”. You should reward on a par with what was done. More specifically, bring out the chocolate only when a big job was accomplished.

How to Discipline Your Child: Set the Rules

This is especially true for how to discipline a strong willed child. Regardless, when your rules are vague, your child will have a hard time following them. It is the parent’s job to make sure that a child understands what is expected of them and what isn’t.

The rules of the house should be clear to everyone, including children. Many psychologists teach that household rules are best taught at times when you aren’t busy. If you have a few minutes to spare, for example, ask your child to help you with something. If your child is quick and eager to respond, praise them. You have just taught them the value of helping others. If they resist and become defiant and angry, you should correct them on the spot.

How to Discipline Your Child: Buy Yourself Time

When your child does something that really makes you angry, take a moment to settle and compose yourself before you do anything. This will minimize the risk of taking your anger out on your child. You should always be careful to separate how you are feeling at a given moment from the appropriate response to a child’s behavior. This eliminates the possibility that you will overreact in a given situation.

How to Discipline Your Child: Be Consistent with Rules

As has been stated before, children want rules. When they have rules to live by, it’s clearer to them what they can and cannot do. The trouble with rules is that sometimes situations change, which makes their equal enforcement at times very difficult. The trouble with this is that when you aren’t consistent in your enforcement of the rules, children can call into question which rules they must obey and those which might not be so important that they do not need to be carried out.

How to Discipline Your Child: Be a Role Model

Simply put, don’t expect your child to practice behavior that you don’t exercise. For example, how would you expect to teach your child the importance of having a clean bedroom if it’s been days since you made your own bed? Set an example, and be your child’s role model.

How to Discipline a Child with Autism

Early intervention is a huge factor in dealing with disciplining your autistic child. If you are aware that your child has autism, your early involvement with their education and discipline can be critical to their future development. Numerous studies have shown that not only does your involvement in their lives make a difference, but it is fundamental to their development. This is especially true in certain areas such as the development of communications skills, social interaction, and behavior.

As you have no doubt already learned, routines are critical to your autistic child. Establishing a routine and sticking with it throughout the day gives them the security and structure they need for their day-to-day development.

One of the differences between disciplining the child with autism and those without the affliction, is that to render standard discipline on a child with autism is practically useless. This is because of the difficulty that children with autism have with associated the inappropriate behavior with the punishment being given. The key is to focus on the behavior as it should have happened, not as it did. This approach would be similar to you taking a new job but instead of telling you what you need to do or what you did right, they focused only on what you did wrong. You would no doubt get very tired and frustrated very quickly.

Tips for Disciplining an Autistic Child

The best way to discipline a child with autism, as well as any of the other autism spectrum problems, is to lay out for them very carefully what is expected of them with an emphasis on timing. If you approach discipline in this manner, you should use the following ideas for reinforcement:

  • Praise the child immediately when they exercise proper behavior.
  • Use pictures and other visual aids–including charts–to help.
  • Mix enjoyable tasks in with less desirable tasks.

More Disciplining Tips That Work With All Children

Children rarely act without a purpose.

That purpose might be good or bad, but it is there. Are they thirsty, tired, bored? Find out what is causing the action, and you can solve the problem. Unfortunately, they often won’t be able to accurately tell you what the problem is.

Be careful about avoidance.

If you are having problems getting a child to do something, find out why. Just as in the case above, children often won’t do something without a reason. What are they avoiding? Maybe there’s a good reason such as a painful result, or perhaps they might not know how to do what they have been asked.

Unknown consequences.

One of the problems with practicing inconsistent punishment is that children often don’t know what to expect with their actions. Perhaps they were punished the last time they performed a certain action. Maybe they need another lesson in order to avoid what they perceive as the likely result.

Why did they do it?

Children do things, including misbehaving, for a lot of reasons. If there is misbehavior, find out what is on their minds before you discipline your child.

Other reasons

Another problem that often shows itself as misbehavior is some kind of sensory problem such as a hearing loss or visual impairment. You might want to have your child examined by a professional to determine whether that is what the problem is.

Good behavior is a nonnegotiable. There are simply standards of conduct that must be adhered to, and you are the best one to teach them. The earlier the better.

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