Discipline helps teach children right from wrong. There are many ways to teach your child both good and bad behavior. However, there are times when parents also need to be disciplined.
When responding to your child’s behavior, take a moment to think about what he did and how you are reacting. Think about it—as adults, we often expect children to take a “time out” and think about what they did wrong. As caregiver, have you ever thought about taking your own time out before reacting? We like to call this a “chill out.” Here is an example of how a chill out can work. When children misbehave, first count to 5 or 10 and then respond.
Consider that your son is coloring nicely in his coloring book. Seeing he is content, you decide to leave and work on the computer. In a moment, your child gets up and begins to color on the wall. He’s having so much that he decides to grab another crayon or two. When you notice, you freak out. A common reaction is to yell in a firm voice, “No, we don’t color on the wall.”
Pause. Insert your own personal time out. Take a chill out moment and calm yourself down. Instead of reacting with a scolding, consider this response: Pick up your child and ask, “What did you do wrong?” The child may respond and say he colored on the wall. Calmly ask, “Where should crayons be used?” Consider rocking your child or giving a hug while you have this serious conversation. Explain that crayons are to be used on paper or coloring books, not on the wall.
After your conversation, ask your child to assist in cleaning up. Show your son how difficult it is to get crayon off the wall. Clean the wall together.
Other responses could be to use redirection or stop talking. Nothing makes a child stop in his tracks faster than silence. Here are a few examples to better explain these concepts.
Consider that you are in the grocery store and your daughter starts kicking and screaming. Take your chill out moment and try a redirection. Move your child to a different location. Bring her to the back seat of the car and calmly tell her you needed to leave the grocery store because she was kicking and screaming.
If your child is throwing blocks at home, take him outside and ask him to throw a ball instead. Explain that he is being removed from the house because he was throwing toys, which is not okay. Tell him that throwing objects outside is okay. A child must understand that you are the adult and you are firm on the rules. If these options do not work, try being silent. This means you may need to stop correcting the behavior or telling the child she is wrong. In some cases, a child might do a certain action just to see your response.
If your child is running through the kitchen while you are cooking, you might say, “No running!” Instead, don’t respond when and ignore the bad behavior. Obviously, you need to think about which behaviors to ignore. Which situations will matter in a week or a month? Try using the ignoring technique in situations where the behavior is less serious or your child is just trying to get a rise out of you.
Respond to your child’s misbehavior as you see fit. It’s most important to remember that safety comes first for you and your child. Take a chill out to assess the situation and decide what response will work best for your family.
© 2012 Let’s Talk Kids, LLC