Parenting doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Each decision we make as parents comes with its own set of costs that we might have to pay for at a later date. As you toddler plays in the dog’s water bowl we let out a giggle and let the behavior go as “cute”. As that child gets older and starts swatting at the dog’s tail we can no longer look away with a smile.
Introducing boundaries and restrictions to your children has to become second nature. Living a life of complete freedom may sound magnificent but how would we know accountability and responsibility for our actions.
Disciplining our children can be one of the hardest things we do. We don’t want to be seen as the bad guy but we know we have to guide our children to be truthful, inspired and kind. Following our own hearts is usually the best way but we often get caught up in some traps.
Never threaten bad behavior with empty threats. You child WILL catch on that you won’t follow through. Taking away toys or electronics for a month is excessive and we’ll often cave just after a few days. Stick with a punishment that “fits the crime” and that you’ll really follow through with.
Develop a way to minimize the whining and talking back. Sending children away to another room until the complaining is over is what works best for me. Children know how the best ways to get their parents to cave and getting under our skin often works. Find a way to keep that behavior away from your especially when you’re upset.
Negotiation skills are extremely important and are definitely something we want to develop within our children but not when it comes to setting rules and doling out punishments. Discuss the offending behavior, determine your child’s consequence and then it’s end of discussion. Stay unwavering, they’ll start to realize that you mean business.
Lay down family rules first. If your children don’t know it’s not OK to dig in the garden then it’s not fair to punish them for it the 1st time it’s done. Once it’s been discussed then an appropriate consequence should be upheld. Make the rules clear for everyone and talk about it often so they aren’t conveniently forgotten.
Bribing your baby to crawl by offering a new toy is a great incentive but it’s not the best practice for children who understand right from wrong. Rewarding good behavior with treats, stickers, money and quality time spent together will work much better than disingenuous behavior in the beginning.
Parenting is often about trial and error. We can turn in any direction and fin a new resource that tells us what is best. We have to make our own decisions that make sense for our families. These aren’t rules on how to discipline your children but instead guidelines on how to take the best approach to maintaining a respectful and organized home. Work with your own child’s ages, abilities and awareness to bring out the best in them.