8 Consequenes To Encourage Discipline In Young Children

Some mothers find it difficult to discipline, because they do not want to be “harsh” or “unkind” to their children. Enforcing boundaries teaches submissiveness. Setting rules trains a child to conform, avoiding the constant need to punish a child for disobedience. Even in the immediate present, the predictability of structured, consistent discipline makes a child feel secure and safe.

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Other mothers find it challenging to discipline because they don’t know how. Let us now focus on consequences. Consequences are an excellent deterrent, which teaches children to obey in the long run. In this column, we will highlight various other options, mostly tailored for younger children, which encourage discipline.

1. Pre-planning: You know the quote, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” How about thinking of a new twist; plan the failures? Every family has several tough spots, which are a constant challenge. As a mother, you know what they are. If for the past five months, you’ve been yanking your seven-year-old out of bed, so that he can make the bus, why do you feel flustered and unprepared every morning? Designate a quiet moment to plan for those inevitable crises and design a course of action. After all, it’s always easier to think when you’re not under pressure and you’re not emotionally involved-yet! Once you’ve hit on a plan, you will be so much more confident and relaxed. Often, your children will intuitively sense your confidence and therefore, comply more readily.

2. Authoritarian Commanding: When you ask your child to do something, demand it with confidence. You are the parent. You are the authority. You have the final say in your house. A child can tell if his mother is wishy-washy, uncertain or unconfident; he will cash in on that weakness to wheedle his way out.

3. When-Then: A very smart way to get children to comply is by using “When-Then.” For example, “When you finish dinner, then you can have dessert,” or “when you brush your teeth, then you can read your book.” Thereby, you stress the anticipated behavior, and you strengthen the child’s motive to listen. Just remember to stick to the deal!

4. The Broken Record: The theory behind The Broken Record is that persistence pays off. If your child ignores you, repeat your words in an emphatic, firm manner. Do not raise your voice or express emotion. Just repeat your words…until your child gets the message. For example: Now it’s time to do your homework…Homework time is now…I hear what you’re saying, but homework time is now…

5. Forced Compliance: Forced compliance works for little ones. When they are not listening, you can “force” them to do the proper action, and then, thank them for it. For example, cup your hand over your four-year-old’s and forcibly have him pass you the saltshaker. Then, say thank you. Or, you put your hand on your seven-year-old’s shoulder and walk him into his bedroom…

6. Forced Resistance: If your little one is misbehaving or hurting others, you can forcibly put him on your lap and hold him tightly. While he squirms, tell him, “As soon as you calm down, I will let you go. As soon as you are in control, you can continue playing…” This relaxes the child and forces him to lose his previous momentum.

7. Distraction: If you would like your child to stop a negative behavior and want to avoid conflict, you can distract him or re-focus his behavior in a positive way. This usually works-and is a wonderful tactic to use at times that it is unfeasible or undesirable to use other disciplining tactics. For example, your children are fighting. Take out a game and divert their attention.

8. Training Camp: For an infrequent, creative disciplining alternative when a child does not conform to one of your house’s systems, you can tell the child that you’ll be setting up a “Training Camp,” so that the child can practice behaving. Make sure to do it at a time that is unpleasant for your child to be busy “training how to eat nicely” or “sit at dinner,” such as when he wants to go play or enjoy his free time. Have your child go through the steps of the proper behavior until he does it satisfactorily. If your daughter is stretching her bedtime preparations too long, have her get into her pajamas on one Sunday afternoon and practice the whole procedure from beginning to end, including brushing her teeth, until she does it quickly enough. Usually, the child does not want to attend this “Training Camp” more than once.

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18 responses

  1. These are great ideas, Thanks.

  2. wow! This is a really great list. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the ones that really work though. At least there are tons of suggestions here.

    1. I find for each child there is a method that works although it might be different for each child.

  3. These are all such great tips. I really did think I was done (well, sort of) until I had my third (surprise!) child. I find her to be the most challenging of all to discipline…I think it’s because we’ve let her get away with so much.

    1. It’s hard because once children see they can get away, they know how to take advantage and it’s hard to uproot that habit and change our parenting!

  4. Great list of disciple ideas. We use time out mostly in our house.

    1. Thanks! I’m happy that time out works for you!

  5. We only have one child so far and considering another. For now he really follows the rules and is very mild mannered. We do use some of the discipline tactics you mention (but not all). I agree with your comment to Lexie that each child may have different methods that works for them. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Children don’t need all the points mentioned however, in different circumstances, different approaches can be used.

  6. Disciplining my daughter has always proven to be a huge challenge for me. It’s not easy, because I want to be the “good” mom, lest she chooses to be with her dad over me. It’s an irrational fear, I guess. Thanks for sharing those tips. With practice, I should be better at discipline 🙂

    1. Children that have a stable home with the discipline in order will feel safe and secure. I wish you lots of luck!

      1. Pepper Tan, Find a mom further along the parenting road whose children you admire to mentor you — even casually. It’s much easier to set boundaries and “be firm” when you remember you’re not parenting her for today, but for her lifetime. My son, now 19, has thanked me many times this first year of college as he realizes that my firm parenting prepared him for independence and he recognizes he can make important decisions with confidence, thanks to what he learned growing up. There’s a huge difference between having your child like you today and love you forever.

  7. Good list! I totally agree with telling your child what he/she needs to do as opposed to asking them. I’ve seen this mistake made so many times and I just cringe. What child is going to respond positively to the question, “Would you like to get ready for bed now?” I do like to let my kids choose a lot of things to teach them how to make decisions, such as what story to read, what color of clothes to wear, etc., but when it comes to things that must be done at a certain time and way, there is no question! 🙂

    1. That’s great! This gives your children the feeling of security and at the same time they work on making choices which will help them later on in life.

  8. Firm and loving direction is essential to helping children learn to make wise decisions as they grow. It’s easier to set boundaries when we remember that we’re guiding them into independent thinking as adults. They won’t know what’s right if they aren’t taught.

    My daughter dragged her feet at bedtime for years — which landed her an earlier bedtime. Now that she’s 9, she doesn’t want that early bedtime and she gets ready for bed with appropriate speed and care. It took years for the lesson to sink in, but I love not having to battle her now!

    1. You have lots of good points here! Thanks for sharing.

      1. It helps that I have grown kids — I can see the far end of the road!

      2. True! You can now see the fruits of your labor!

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