Discipline is teaching and coaching acceptable behavior to your child with love, it is not punishment.
Discipline: Noun 1. training to act in accordance with rules, 2. activity, exercise or a regime
that develops or improves a skill. Verb 1. to train by instruction.
I know this is a very touchy subject with people. Let me begin by saying I don’t have the answers I just try to teach my children acceptable behavior and lead by example. I wish I was a better example and pray about that daily. I suggest you pray about your discipline techniques.
I think about how God disciplines me.
1. He has rules and consequences.
2. He is consistent.
3. He is always with me whatever I am going through. He says “He will never leave me nor forsake me”. (Hebrews 13:5) I know this and am comforted by it.
Children need this same reassurance. Children need to know there are consistent rules with consequences. Let them know that you love them not their behavior. The Bible is an excellent resource teaching about relationships and life lessons. Another resource is Focus on the Family, click http://www.focusonthefamily.com/. Two excellent books I’ve found are How to Negotiate with Kids…Even if You Think You Shouldn’t and Have a New Kid by Friday. The first teaches listening techniques and the latter dealing with your child’s attitude and changing their behavior.
5 Simple Strategies:
1. Sleep is the best disciplinary tool for you and your children.
I’ve found when everyone is well rested things run more smoothly. Be consistent with bedtime.
When the triplets were young we diligently kept bedtimes during the week and on weekends.
This also includes daylight savings time. In fact, in our house we’re not allowed to talk about it! Just change the clocks and be done with it. I think this helps everyone get past the change easier. Try it. During daylight savings time, I would use a blackout curtain (black felt on a tension rod). It is very easy and economical and it made their bedroom dark. As they have
gotten older and we have slacked up on bed time and we are noticing more tension between kids.
2. Have high expectations.
I expect my children to behave. For example, during church they have to sit still. If they did not, when they were little, they would go to the nursery. I do not smile at them if they are acting up. I have seen parents smile and giggle at their child standing in the pew, throwing a trantrum, or running wild in a restaurant. I would air lift them out of church or a restaurant wherever their behavior was not appropriate. I try to find them exhibiting the behavior I want and praise them for that. For example , if I am on the phone and don't want to be interrupted, I find a time when they didn't interrupt me and praise that behavior.
3. Limit the number of rules.
I only have a few rules, ones I strongly believe in and want to enforce. Rules have
consequences. The kids should know the rules and consequences. No surprises. For older children they can help decide the consequences. Also in the heat of a moment I try not to say, “No TV for a week”, if I won’t enforce it. Rules are also transferable they apply at a friend’s house or at Grandma’s.
4. Do not count to 3.
I never did count to 3 to get the behavior I wanted. I think doing that encourages them to wait for the 3rd count. They know exactly what I sound like when I mean business. No means no.
5. Utilize time-outs for your kids and their toys.
Time-outs help diffuse a situation where your child is making poor decisions. It helps calm you and the child. Make time-out age appropriate. A two year old can sit on a stool for two minutes not five. Time-out should be when the child is exhibiting the wrong behavior not at
a later time. Delayed time-out won’t make sense to the child. Sometimes a toy would create
problems. If the triplets wouldn’t share a toy, then that toy would be put in time out, for maybe a day or two. As my children have gotten older I have modified time out. Sometimes I have to separate the kids or have them switch activities. I try to use things they love as consequences. I try not to use reading, studying, or practicing as punishment. I want them to love to read, study and practice, so that leaves TV, Wii, or making bedtime earlier, as fair game.
I am sorry to say I have swatted my children’s bottom. It does get their attention. But, I have learned that I shouldn’t use my hands in violence with my children. Children should associate your hands with love.
I think most of these strategies can be modified for teens. I know discipline issues will vary as they grow up. I am trying to learn new ways of leading them. I try to listen to them, understand what they are feeling, and try to treat them like I would want to be treated. Believe me this doesn’t always happen.
Does anyone with teens have proven strategies you would like to share?
I’d love to hear from you.