Discipline is a very important part of parenting.
Healthy discipline strategies will have these goals in common:
- Protect the child from danger.
- Teach self discipline.
- Teach a sense of responsibility.
- Help instill the values of the family, culture and faith.
Discipline is about setting limits of behaviour for a child based on their age and ability to make decisions. Problems in discipline occur either when a parent does not provide enough limits or is too rigid in the “rules”.
Inflexible limits cause rebellion in children, especially as they grow older, when they want to make decisions and develop a sense of freedom and individuality. Discipline and limit setting provides balance between these two extremes.
Some tips for parents:
- Give all children reasonable, limited choices based on their age and ability to make decisions. Be clear and consistent in establishing limits and boundaries for your child’s behavior.
- Your rules don’t have to be the same ones other parents have, but they do need to be clear and consistent. If two parents are raising a child, both need to use the same rules.
- Be clear about the consequences of unacceptable behaviour.
- Provide order in a child’s life. Keep a regular schedule of meals and bedtimes. If you have to change the schedule, tell them about the changes ahead of time.
- Show your love. Every day, tell your children: “I love you. You’re special to me”, give lots of hugs and kisses.
- Praise your children. When your children learn something new or behave well, tell them you’re proud of them.
- Make your children feel safe. Comfort them when they’re scared. Show them you’ve taken steps to protect them.
- Be patient.
- Set a good example. Children learn by watching.