While babies, particularly in the early part of infancy, cannot understand right from wrong, it only takes a few months before they begin to understand when Mom and Dad do not want them to do something. There are ways to begin a life of quality discipline with your baby without causing stress and frustration.
First, be firm. You need to know your boundaries. It is important for you and your partner to talk about your discipline concerns. There are several types of parenting styles, including authoritarian, permissive, and democratic. Authoritarian parents are rigid in their concerns; they make rules and expect their children to follow them without question. Permissive parents make no rules because they want their children to learn on their own. Democratic parents are the ones childcare experts boast works best. These parents have rules, but they understand when they are not working and can rethink their plans.
Once you know what style of parenting you have, you will be better equipped to deal with your baby. When your baby at four months old does something wrong, you simply say "no" and remove the child from the situation. As baby grows, however, you should explain. "No. Putting your finger in the fan can hurt you." While your little one won't understand you, it is important to explain to your baby what is going on. That way he or she will pick up on your reasons eventually.
Experts disagree on the merits of spanking. While some argue that it is not harmful, others say that it is immoral. Evidence swings both ways, but it all converges on one point. Physical punishment is a short-term technique only. There is no evidence that spanking children teaches them why they should not engage in a certain behavior, which means that they are likely to repeat the behavior as they stopped because they were hit, not because they were told why touching the stove was bad. Avoiding physical punishment means that you must be more structured in your parenting and that you must explain your decisions to your little one. In the long run, though, it teaches your children how to act when you are not in the room just as when you are there.
Babies cannot understand the whole of human language, which leads many parents to believe they should simply stop baby when it seems necessary. It is, however, important for you to tell baby what is going on. Here are some statements you could make to your baby.
"No, do not put your fingers in the fan. No."
"We are nice to the puppy. He's our friend."
While your child will not understand exactly what you are saying, he eventually will pick up on the ideas you are sharing. At the very least, remember that your baby can tell from the tone of your voice if you are unhappy and will pick up on these cues to listen to you telling her right from wrong. Use a firm tone without yelling. Your baby will get the idea, and you will start on the road to good discipline.
By Julia Mercer