Sunday, December 31, 2006

Discipline Tips

Discipline Tips for Parents, Grandparents, and Other Caregivers

Discipline is one of the biggest problems parents and other caregivers face. Good discipline is a welcome thin in a child's life and can start during the first year of life. Ask your family pediatrician for his or her opinion and experiences.

Learning to discipline children fairly, consistently, effectively and improper measure are all hard work according to research findings at many American universities. Positive discipline is always much better than punishment and will help your child learn to self discipline later on. It is the way parents help their children learn self control that is needed for success in life as an adult. These inner controls help children know what to do and when to do it, even when parents are not around to help them any longer. This is vital to success in life.

The purpose of discipline is to raise responsible, confident children to think for themselves, care about others, and live satisfying and productive lives. The type of discipline a family uses strongly influences the self esteem of their children. Here are some good alternative suggestions for problem behaviors and situations:

Change the Scene.
If children misbehave in the grocery store, do not take them to the store. If church lasts an hour, and children cannot sit still, take them to the church nursery. If your child runs through the living room, arrange the furniture to block the path. Read about child development and talk with professionals like your child's teacher or health care provider to learn what to expect of your child.

Redirect, Distract, or Divert Attention.
When a child is about to do something wrong, redirect the attention of the child to something OK. Redirect a child who is sad about going to bed, to comfort a doll. A child who wants to play at the home business computer needs redirection to her own toys. A child who wants to hit needs redirection to hit a pillow or a ball or to exercise in another way

Be Firm and Consistent.
Being firm does not mean yelling or controlling. It means deciding and choosing rules that are most important in order to reflect your values. Carefully teach children correct behaviors. Show and teach them what to do. Be firm about things that really matter. Be flexible about less important types of misbehavior. Your tone of voice, specific words, and actions all show that you mean what you say. Children usually comply when their parents are firm. Research findings also indicate that children benefit from knowing that their parents are in charge. If these things do not work, visit your pediatrician with your child for advice and attention to the problem.

Ignore Some Types of Misbehavior Sometimes.
Some children misbehave specifically to get attention and this continues well into the adult years. Once you teach your child the correct behavior, it may be best to ignore attention getting behaviors like temper tantrums or foul language. The same is true of behaviors like silliness or exaggeration. These behaviors reflect immaturity and when a child is tired it will come out more prominently and more often. Your best discipline tool is your attention. Give children attention when they behave well. Try not to require that your child misbehave to get your attention.

Be Detached and Not Too Emotionally Invested - Do Not Discipline When You are Angry.
Pretend this is not your child, or wait until you cool down if you are angry. Imagine that you are correcting a niece, nephew, or neighbor. Sometimes parents stay calmer when they discipline someone else's children.

Stay Alert.
Deal with each potentially bad situation before it gets out of hand. Correct the child before you become frustrated and upset. Watch difficult situations carefully. There is not substitute for supervision.

Time Out is Not Punishment.
It is a special time to calm oneself. It gives everybody a chance to calm down to gain self control. When children fight or seem to lose self control, simply tell them they need a time out. Send them to separate rooms, chairs, anywhere to be alone for a while. There are many ways to gain composure: walking, drawing, listening to music, looking at a book. The type and length of the time out will vary for each person and situation. You can set the kitchen timer for 5 minutes. Eventually children will learn to pace themselves and schedule their own time outs.

Reverse Time Out is For Parents.
Take a time out yourself when you feel yourself getting out of control or angry. Tell the children you are taking a time out for yourself. Your example will help them learn self control.

Consequences are a discipline method that says that experience is the best teacher. It means letting children have the dignity of dealing with results of their behavior.

It means not rescuing them. Let them deal with the consequences! It is not easy. There are many kinds of consequences, natural and logical. A natural consequence occurs naturally: You did not eat your dinner so you are hungry now. You can eat again at snack time.

Logical consequences are rules and amends you and your child make together. Your comments show the child that you care and understand their feelings. Example:

You broke your toy and wish it still worked. Do not buy a replacement toy, though.

Social consequences teach conflict management:

Johnny does not want to play with you, because you smashed the toy fort.

Some consequences are positive: You helped me with dishes. Now we can go to the park.

Try the above discipline methods and ask your pediatrician for more ideas and help.

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