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I’m sure every parent would agree with me when I say that raising kids is one of the most challenging (but also most rewarding) experiences you will ever undertake.
One of our biggest concerns in raising well-balanced, confident children that can make good decisions for themselves is Discipline.
What is Discipline? When one thinks of discipline you probably think of punishment, and more than likely, physical punishment (such as giving a “hiding”). More positive techniques of disciplining teach children self-control and responsibility; as apposed to strict parenting that produces angry children who feel bad about themselves.
“Children misbehave when they feel discouraged or powerless. When you use discipline methods that overpower them or make them feel bad about themselves, you lower their self-esteem. It doesn’t make sense to punish a child who is already feeling badly about herself and heap more discouragement on top of her.” Kathryn J. Kvols
Try the following Positive Parenting techniques:
Reward Good Behaviour
Catch your kids doing something right and reward them with thanks and praise. A great idea is a reward chart. Try to ignore bad behaviour as much as possible.
Be a Good Role Model
Children learn by emulating their parents. Children are very impressionable and while they may listen to lectures and instructions for some time, they will take more information from how they see the adults in their lives behaving. And don’t forget – you need to practice what you preach!!
This works well with younger children. Sometimes it is easier to just distract your child from their behaviour by giving them something else to do, or guiding their attention to something interesting to look at or explore.
Tell Them what you Expect beforehand
If for instance you are going on an outing, you could explain what behaviour is acceptable for that particular situation.
Good for older children – it helps them learn responsibility for themselves. For example – if they continue to leave their dirty clothes on the floor instead of putting it in the laundry basket, their clothes don’t get washed.
By setting and maintaining limits, your children will learn from your positive discipline and develop their own sense of right and wrong and attitude of self-discipline. Set limits and consequences together. Children will naturally test the limits you set, so consistency is key! Having them obey rules and face the consequences when they are broken is real love. When the rule is violated, remind your child of the consequence and make it happen - no matter what. Consistent application gives the child a feeling of security in knowing that your word is real and that you expect hers to be the same.
Children should never feel that they have to earn a parent's love. Through unconditional love, the child learns to love and value himself. Your child should feel comfortable enough in your presence to be herself. A child that is shown unconditional love will have the desire to behave well.
The goal is to encourage even when disciplining your children, they need to know that although you expect better next time, you love them no matter what.