Effective Tips for Disciplining Kids of All Ages

What is discipline?

Discipline is a big word that is often times hard to spell and sounds harsh.  Many also think that it is unnecessary when talking about improving children’s behavior.   However, it is quite the opposite. Disciplining is an essential element to raising children that not only improves their behavior but if done correctly, can teach children valuable lessons to improve their life.

Disciplining does not mean to punish, but to help improve behavior with positive and negative consequences. It is very important that your child or children know that you love them and that you are setting these boundaries to help them.

6 Steps to Helping Children When They Are Not Listening

• Think of the basic action they are not doing
• Give a choice, the one you want and another undesirable one
• Give 5 seconds to decide, if no response, ask if they want to decide or if they want you to decide.
• Then, give them 5 more seconds.
• If they decide great!  You got them to be compliant.  Now remind them of your expectations.
• If not, tell them what you decided they would do.  Tell them your expectations and leave to watch to see if they will comply.
• If they still choose to not comply, send them to their room to calm down.
• Return and think of a reasonable consequence for their misbehavior.  Remember to follow through!

Discipline Techniques

  1. Set boundaries: Your child is going to push you in every way possible until they know what their boundaries are.  A great way to prevent the need for disciplining your child is by first, telling them your expectations or what they are allowed to do in each situation.  That will also help you know better how to discipline if they end up misbehaving later on.
  2. Follow-through:  If you tell your child that if they scream one more time they are going to their room, then the next time they scream, you better take them to their room.  Your child will never believe a word out of your mouth unless you follow through every single time. Again, they need to know your boundaries and how far they can push you before getting their way.
  3. Prevent by having a good relationship:  The number one way to preventing disciplining your child is by having a good relationship with them in the first place.  Go on dates together, just the two of you, have inside-jokes, or simply, tell them how much you love them on a daily basis.  These things will greatly help your relationship with your child and will be sure to help you down the road with disciplining.
  4. Time-out:  When your child acts up, set aside a place in the house for them to take a few minutes and calm down.  An appropriate amount of time for time out is the child’s age in minutes. Set a timer, leave the child, and when time-out is done, talk about what happened and how they are going to change their behavior in the future.
  5. Take away privilege:  Favorite toys are great motivators for your child to do what they are asked.  Simply tell them they will lose a toy, game, electronic until they can do what you’ve asked.  Make sure to follow through otherwise your child will not take you seriously.

6. Ignore Misbehavior:  When you notice that your child is purposely misbehaving so as to get your attention, look the other way.  You’ll be surprised how quickly they want to get your attention back for good behaviors, instead of bad.

  1. Natural & Logical Consequences:  When your child forgets something or breaks something, instead of fixing it for them, let them figure out how best to fix the problem on their own.  They will soon come to realize that their actions can create consequences so they need to be more responsible in the future.
  2. Reward & Praise Good Behavior:  As soon as your son or daughter does a behavior that you have been working on with them, praise the heck out of them!  Give them a huge reward and tell them how proud you are of them! They will want to keep pleasing you by doing that good behavior.  Slowly wean off the rewards though so as to not create a child who will only do things for rewards.

9. Teach New Skills:  Sometimes your children simply don’t know what is appropriate in every situation.  If your child continues to misbehave and you tell them to stop, instead of telling them to stop, explain why they need to stop and what better skill they could do to improve the situation.

  1. Try Again: If your child acts inappropriately, tell them the right way to do behave and reenact the situation again that way your child understands the proper way to behave.

11. Choose Battles:  You and your child are going to think and act differently so choosing the battles which are more important to you will help your relationship with your child.

  1. Take a Break:  Sometimes taking a break is the answer for both you and your child.  By having you and your child go in different rooms to calm down will allow one another to understand the situation and be better able to communicate what the problem is when you have both calmed down.
  2. Grounding:  A classic but something that has been proven to work. If your child has broken some predetermined boundaries or rules, it is only natural that they lose a freedom.  For example, not allowing your teenager to go out with friends or play video games for a certain amount of time.
  3. Offering Choices: Your child is yearning for control so giving them choices that you are ok with will allow your child to ultimately feel like they are controlling the situation.  Win-win!
  4. Stay Calm:  Children, especially toddlers, react to your emotions so overreacting will only heighten your child’s emotions sometimes causing a worse situation than needed.  If you are calm, your child is more likely to stay calm.

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