Parenting Resources

When a child misbehaves, the parent must know how to respond. All children need rules to help them learn appropriate behavior. How does a parent teach rules to a child? When rules are broken, what should parents do?

Parents should begin by discussing among themselves as to how they want to handle discipline and establish rules. Discipline is more teaching, than punishment. Following rules keeps a child safe and helps him or her learn the difference between right and wrong. Establish rules and explain the consequences of broken rules clearly to the child. These can be decided between the parents and the child. Parents should always acknowledge and offer positive reinforcement when a child follows the rules and enforce appropriate deterrents when the child breaks a rule. To ensure discipline you should be both consistent and predictable.

Children learn from experience. Logical consequences for misbehavior help them learn accountability. If my children fight over television, I turn it off. If my child spills water on the dining table, she has to clean it. Another type of consequence that can be effective is the suspension or delay of a privilege. There are different styles and approaches to parenting. Effective parents don't need to use physical force to discipline the child. Set clear rules and explain why these rules are important. Effective parents reason with their children and consider their points of views even if they disagree.

Tips for effective Discipline

Trust your child to do the right thing. Demand only what is reasonable. Do not yell at your child. Be firm, specific and clear about what you want and mean. Be an example for your child. The child learns from you. Allow for negotiation and flexibility and then let your child experience the consequences of his behavior. As far as practicable, consequences should be immediate and should relate to indiscipline. Consequences should be fair and appropriate to the problem and the child's age. Despite the best advice, if parents have serious concerns about continuing problems with their child's behavior, consulting a therapist may be helpful.

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