If you are finding that your discipline strategy isn't as effective as you would like, consider using these 6 tips to fine-tune your strategy and better personalize it for your child.
1. Create an environment that is conducive to success. For some children, disorganization can trigger behavioral issues. For others, crowds and chaos can affect behavior. When you understand how your child responds to different environments, you can be proactive in creating an environment that will minimize the need for reactive disciplinary measures.
2. Encourage self-regulation. Children are created to learn to self-regulate their behaviors. Through bonding and touch children are able to successfully master this skill. Making conscious choices to bond with your child and to take advantage of natural bonding moments can help facilitate this learning process. When children learn to self-regulate, parents may need to provide less external regulation.
3. Remember there is a reason for your child's behavior. Part of effective discipline is understanding the root of your child's behavior. Children may express undesirable behavior when they are hungry, tired, frustrated or in need of attention, amongst other things. When parents are able to successfully decode their child's needs they can take appropriate measures to meet them.
4. Respond with consistency. Children feel safe and thrive off of consistency. When children know what to expect, they are better able to meet those expectations. When you respond to undesirable behavior consistently, you are sending a clear message that the behavior is not acceptable.
5. Be a role model. You can teach your child what to expect and how to respond to situations by being a solid role model. By demonstrating appropriate behavior and communication, parents can support skill development in these areas.
6. Offer appropriate support. Sometimes children need additional support to keep their behavior on track. The type and level of support may vary from child to child or situation to situation. A child who acts out when it's time for doing homework, for example, may benefit from having a reward system in place to help him achieve his goals.
When considering what type of discipline may be most effective for your child, it can be helpful to be reminded that in its purest sense, discipline is a teaching tool. When we remember that the goal of discipline is to teach our children to make good choices, we may be less likely to be reactionary parents that respond out of anger and more likely to embrace a kind, loving, respectful and positive disciplinary strategy.
© 2011 by Dr. Caron B Goode, NCC, DAPA.