Disciplining a Child

For my last blog A terrible Mistake I saw Parents making, I received mixed reactions, some liked it, some didn’t, some agreed but said I shouldn’t have used the word terrible and then there were some who wanted to know the alternatives to discipline a child. And so this write up is for those who asked for alternatives.

First of all, I would like to state why I said that use of threats is not positive: There are sexual predators lurking around in the society and there have been many cases when such pedophiles use these threats against kids. Of course there are many other ways they can scare kids but this one is also one of them and it is better to avoid using threat of imaginary characters.

Second, Some even questioned my experience with kids, my child’s age… I have seven years of experience of working with kids and for kids… I have been in direct interaction with child psychologists and kids during the counselling session and the kids belonged to different sections of the society… Another thing, Fortunately, kids do connect with me and share things with me for a very simple reason that they trust me and know that I respect their opinion.

Third, there are many other ways of disciplining a child.If looking for some easy ways… this is not the right blog, unfortunately…

  • The best one is disciplining yourself. ‘Do-as-I-say   NOT as-I-do’. Really? Do you think a child can actually do so? No matter how hard or impractical it sounds if you want your child to behave the way you want the you will have to behave the way you expect from your child. If you have told your child 50 times to never raise his voice and it is hundred times he has seen you raising voice or someone else in the family, he will pick up what he is seeing and not what he is told to do.
  • Whenever you see your child throwing a fit, give him a moment. Keep your cool, I know it is hard but it is important, the louder he shouts the softer you respond. ‘Whaawww! Whaaawww Whaawww! Imagine this in the loudest possible voice… The response after every whaww whaww should be: Look into the child’s eyes calmly with a gentle smile on your face and say ‘Calm down! Calm down!’ you might see it not working in the beginning but keep trying because this eventually shows result. Why? Because when you act calmly the child sooner or later gets the message that he does not have to be loud to get heard. NOW THIS TAKES ME TO ANOTHER POINT.
  • We need to show our child right from the beginning that in order to get attention he does not have to shout and how should we do that? Simple, give your child your time, your attention, patience, answer their questions patiently. Sometimes their questions are silly or irritating or illogical to us but to them their questions are important and once we show that we value them, they slowly drop the habit of creating a scene to get attention.
  • Concentrate on WHY instead of WHAT. Whatever  way the child is behaving is because of a reason… though their actions seem unreasonable to us, there is always a reason. We need to focus on the ‘why’ of the action. the reason is generally the desperate bid for attention. The right thing is to start from the beginning and if we haven’t done this right from the beginning we can always start now. It might take some time but it will happen.
  • Don’t give them the reaction they are expecting. When a child throws a fit, he generally expects the usual behaviour from you – yelling and scolding.. surprise him .. with a song… wen he throws a toy… sing: Oh dear dear! Now I fear the toy wouldn’t want to play with you’ pick up the toy and put it back again… repeat repeat and repeat is what a child would do… he would throw the toy again and you will have to do the same repeat repeat repeat…
  • Toddlers generally try to check their limits… how far they can go to have you do what they like… Negotiation is the key. We need to be flexible with them.
  • ‘NO has reasons’ where negotiation is necessary there are instance when a no is the only answer but it should always be accompanied with a reason. ‘No we should not touch the switch board, it is dangerous you can get a shock’ and this ‘no’ should never change. Give them reasons and logic and be firm but calm.
  • Redirect them.. if ‘no’ does not work channelise their energies, change their focus to something else. If they are pulling things on grocery store ask them to rearrange apples or pick up things for you. Keep them busy. They have immense energy and we need to channelise it in the right activities.
  • Try new things if they are not drinking the usual milk. It is aptly said that parenting is not easy. It needs time, patience and a whole lot of hard work. Easy ways will not send across a very positive message to the child.
  • Don’t forget the child is always looking up to you. Never let your voice raise. Once the child sees that everything can be done without shouting all pother problems will sort out themselves.

Having said this, each child is different and each child has a different approach to understand things. What works for one child immediately might take longer for the other child to understand. We as parents need to stay calm. It is difficult but not impossible. A parent knows the best.

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