7 Tricks to “Discipline” Your Child…by
Some people equate discipline with spanking and punishment, but that’s not what we’re talking about. As many parenting experts see it, discipline is about setting rules.
It is to stop your little ones from engaging in behaviour that is aggressive (hitting and biting), dangerous (running out in the street), and inappropriate (throwing food). All of such reactions are counted in bad behaviour and may become bad habits in them.
For many mothers, effective discipline is one of the most challenging and frustrating parenting tasks. It is a seemingly never-ending test of wills between you and your child. This behaviour is because they will latch on to another annoying behaviour —and the process starts anew.
So, before you start googling types of punishment for a child, here are 20 toddler tactics that can help you set limits and stop bad behaviour.
Pick Your Battles
If you’re always saying, ‘No,’ your child will tune out the no. S/He won’t understand your priorities,” says Pearson, author of The Discipline Miracle.
“Plus, you can’t possibly follow through on all of the nos.'”
Define what’s important to you, set limits accordingly, and follow through with appropriate consequences. Then, try to ease up on annoying little things and fall into the “who cares?” category.
For the habits, your child is likely to outgrow, such as insisting on wearing purple (and only purple). Punishing kids won’t help you. Keeping a healthy relationship with your child is rather good. You are trying to force your children to respond in ways that they only will not respond.
Know what Triggers Your Child
Some misbehaviour is preventable—as long as you can anticipate what will spark it. Then, you create a game plan in advance, such as removing real temptations.
If your 18-month-old is prone to grabbing cans off grocery store shelves, bring toys for him to play within the cart while you’re shopping. Your 2-year-old doesn’t share her stuffed animals during playdates at home? Remove them from the designated play area before her pal arrives.
And if your 3-year-old likes to draw on the walls, stash the crayons in an out-of-reach drawer, and don’t let him colour without supervision. There are different types of punishment for a child. Though we cannot call these punishments, we should call them preventions.
Practice Prevention with Your Child
Some children act out when they’re hungry, overtired, or frustrated from being cooped up inside, says Harvey Karp, M.D., creator of the DVD and book The Happiest Toddler on the Block.
Suppose your child tends to be happy and energetic in the morning but is tired and grumpy after lunch. This is a sign of changing behaviour. You can schedule trips to supermarts and visits to the doctor when they are at their best behaviour.
Prepare your children for any new experiences, and explain how you expect them to act.
Also, prepare them for shifting activities: “In a few minutes, we’ll need to pick up the toys and get ready to go home.” The better prepared a child feels, the less likely they are to make a fuss.
Between the ages of 2 and 3, children are working hard to understand how toddler’s behaviour impacts the people around them. There will surely be a changing behaviour.
But, if in your endeavours to discipline a child, your reaction to a situation keeps changing—one day you let your son throw a ball in the house, and the next day you don’t—you’ll confuse him with mixed signals.
There’s no timetable for how many incidents and reprimands it will take before your child stops specific misbehaviour. But, if you always respond the same way, he’ll probably learn his lesson after four or five times. This trick will help you prepare your child for their upcoming education.
Don’t Get Emotional
Sure, it’s hard to stay calm when your 18-month-old yanks the dog’s tail or your 3-year-old refuses to brush his teeth for the gazillionth night in a row. But if you scream in anger, the message you’re trying to send will get lost, and the situation will escalate fast.
Punishment for kids can be a tricky thing.
When a child is flooded with a parent’s negative mood, he’ll see the emotion and won’t hear what you’re saying.
Indeed, an angry reaction will only enhance the entertainment value for your child, so resist the urge to raise your voice.
While disciplining a child – take a deep breath, count to three, and get down to your child’s eye level. Be fast and firm, severe and stern when you deliver the reprimand.
You have to trade in the goal of controlling your child” for “managing the situation.
This may mean re-adjusting your ideas of what is possible for a time until your children’s self-discipline has a chance to grow a little more.
You may need to lower your expectations of her patience and her self-control somewhat. If your goal is to keep the day going along smoothly so that there are fewer opportunities for you both to feel frustrated, that would be a constructive direction.
Listen and Repeat
Kids feel better when they know they have been heard, so repeat your child’s concerns whenever possible. This brings a change in your toddler’s behaviour. If they are whining in the grocery store because you won’t let them open the cookies, say something like:
It sounds like you’re mad at me because I won’t let you open the cookies until we get home. I’m sorry you feel that way. The store won’t let us open things until they’re paid for. That’s its policy.
This won’t satisfy their urge, but it will reduce their anger and defuse the conflict. With similar examples, you can teach them about table manners, etiquettes, school behaviour and so much more.
Keep It Short and Simple
If you’re like most first-time parents, you tend to reason with your child when he or she breaks the rules. You can offer them detailed explanations about what they did wrong and issuing explicit warnings about the privileges they will lose if they don’t stop misbehaving. But as a discipline strategy, over-talking is as ineffective as becoming overly emotional.
While an 18-month-old lacks the cognitive ability to understand complex sentences, a two or 3-year-old with more developed language skills still lacks the attention span to absorb what you’re saying.
Instead, when disciplining a child – speak in short phrases, repeating them a few times, and incorporating vocal inflexions and facial expressions. For example, if your 18-month-old swats your arm, say, “No, Rohan! Don’t hit Mommy! That hurts! No hitting.” A 2-year-old can comprehend a bit more: “Evan, no jumping on the sofa! No jumping. Jumping is dangerous—you could fall.
We hope these techniques help you discipline your child and have a better parent-child relationship.
Apurba has over 5 years of experience working as a content writer for various industries names kids, parenting, health & nutrition.