Of course, establishing proper discipline is easier said than done. In fact, the most common question asked by parents is “HOW DO I GET MY KIDS TO LISTEN?!” However, there is no “one quick-fix solution,” because so many puzzle pieces must fall into place in order for a home’s harmony to resonate. Presuming that the initial foundations of peace, unconditional love, acceptance and communication are in place, we will now explore several discipline techniques which will help us restore respect and discipline in the household.
Before we start with practical pointers, we must have a proper perspective on commanding respect. We must realize that this is not about us; it’s about them. It’s not that we need the honor of having our children speak respectfully at the dinner table. Rather, our children need this training because we want to mold the child into the perfect person we want him to become. So giving in and forgoing this respect is not a service, but rather a disservice, to the child, for we are denying him the opportunity to grow and develop properly.
One component of respect is listening to one’s parents. Therefore, we are obligated to insist on compliance.
Practically speaking, this training is best started when children are young and impressionable. It is then that you can physically “help them” to listen by taking their hand and directing them to do the required action or go to where they have to be.
When giving commands, use a firm, self-assured voice. Even young children detect when you are hesitant or unconfident. Avoid threats, warnings, and ultimatums as they undermine your authority. You can use the “broken record technique” (repeat your command in a calm, firm manner over and over until the child complies) or “when-then technique,” (When you clean up your room, you can go outside to play” instead of “if” which gives wiggling room for non-compliance.) If your child needs to have some power, give him choices and time frames, (“Please make sure the table is cleared before dinner” instead of “DO IT NOW!!!”) Whichever method you may choose to use, do not accept “no” for an answer. This is imperative, because early training sets the stage for respect for all authority throughout life.
Once children are a little older, it is the parent’s choice to be smart and selective when giving commands, demanding only that which the child is capable of fulfilling. For example, asking for something while a child is in middle of playing, or in a tired, cranky mood is setting him up for failure. Think before commanding and do not teach your child disobedience!
Try to set up routines, so that you can preempt tricky situation. When a child knows what is expected of him and is aware of the consequences if the routine is not followed, he is quicker to comply and accepts the consequence.
When you are in a situation over which you have no influence, do not exert your power, because you are embarking on a losing battle. At best, you will win while compromising your values by yelling, threatening, punishing, etc.
Remember that you too can press the pause button. Model proper behavior by thinking before you act. Use impulse control and ask yourself, “Is this the proper request at the proper time? Am I realistic that I can influence this situation? What is the best way to ask my child and set him up for success?”
In summary, start when your children are young by confidently training them to listen. As your children grow older, continue to guide them with firmness and love. Think before commanding and set up routines to avoid confrontation. Most importantly, spend time planning smart solutions at calm times, so you will know how to handle the real-life scenarios.
A child is obligated to listen to his parents and parents have the responsibility to enforce compliance. There can be times, however, when you’ve followed all the proper steps, and your child still refuses to listen and continuously acts in a defiant manner. This is not regular. It is natural for a child to seek to please his parents in most circumstances, (barring a power struggle or occasional extenuating circumstances.) However, if your child is constantly angry, revengeful, and intent on contradicting his parents in a spiteful manner, then there is a reason for concern. Something is triggering this underlying current of defiance. So, instead of repeating the same techniques without achieving desirable results, take a step back and examine the bigger picture to try to discover what may be causing this rebellious attitude.
A common reason why children act insolent is because they are merely mimicking a poor example – their very own parents’ relationship. When parents do not treat each other with proper respect and care, the child reflects this negative home atmosphere with disrespect, defiance and disobedience.
Another possible trigger for a child’s non-compliance is a rocky parent-child relationship. He may be using non-compliance to normal requests as a means to vent pent-up anger. Parents should try to explore these negative feeling by asking themselves: Was there too much criticism, sarcasm or finger-pointing when the child was little? Was the child demanded to mimic his parents when he simply felt too different and wished to live his life according to his best abilities and standards? Or, simply, has the child been trained to disobey – has he gotten accustomed to not listening and getting away with it for too long? It takes a lot to repair a relationship gone askew. You need liberal doses of unconditional love, open communication, or regarding the last scenario. continual discipline to regain authority.
You also need endless quantities of patience, time and iron willpower. But you will get there, And if you’ve ever wished to give your child a gift, a positive relationship is the very sweetest one you can possibly give your child.
If the parents’ model a good relationship between themselves and have a healthy parent-child relationship, then the child may be a particularly challenging child. At times, God has given the child – and his parents – the challenge of an extreme temperament, excessive anxiety, ADHD, ODD, etc. This means that the child is wired differently, and therefore responds differently. He first needs proper help to learn how to control his impulsivity and act like others his age. It is imperative to have the child properly diagnosed by a child study team, so that you can understand the best way to deal with this child. Proper guidance is the key to long-term success. While the child may need a different approach, he still can succeed.
Take a good hard look at the situation. Ask yourself, does this child have any circumstances in his life that cause him anguish? Is he maintaining average grades academically? Does he have friends? Are his basic needs of love, nurturing and bonding being met? How is his self-image? At times, a parent can be a detective and see a pattern emerging which will point in the direction that needs more exploring.
While parents may be tempted to think, “Oh, I’m managing the grind. At the end of the day, nothing too catastrophic happens because my kids don’t listen.” Parents must realize that this is not a matter of how the parents are managing, but rather how the child is managing! Teaching children to listen ultimately teaches them to obey all authority!
Actions speak louder than words. In fact, they speak 93% louder than words. That’s because, case studies prove that 93% of our messages are communicated through body language, divided between 55% conveyed through the emotional messages of face-to-face interaction and another 38% transmitted through the voice. This means that only 7% of communication is expressed by our words. That’s astounding!
In practical terms, this means that we can be giving the most loving, caring speeches to a child, and yet, if he does not feel the love and care behind these statements, then they are almost worthless. In contrast, we can be giving the most stinging rebuke to a child, but if our body language continues to convey respect and love, then the very sharp criticism is transformed into a cherished moment symbolizing love and concern for the child.
People believe non-verbal communication more readily than verbal communication. That’s because, while one can pay lip-service to giving fine platitudes without really meaning them, one can rarely put on a convincing act of body language. For example, when we say no to a child, yet we sound unsure and doubtful, the message that there is room for negotiations speaks louder than the word no.
In addition, non-verbal communication happens continually, all day long, as opposed to verbal communication, which happens only when we engage in conversation. At times, we might think that we aren’t being expressive, while in reality we are sending messages all the time through other means, for example a look of annoyance or a grumpy face.
We must make sure that our non-verbal communication matches our verbal messages. Otherwise, our children become confused and insecure.
For so many reasons, we must work from inside-out and start tuning in to the silent signals we give our children.
Start by analyzing your facial expression. When your child arrives home from school, do you look happy? Uptight? Worried? Concerned? Excited? Remember: A face is public property, always open for public viewing. Make it pleasant and warm.
Think about eye contact. When you look your child in the eye, you convey your love and concern for him. You show him you truly care about him.
Brainstorm for different positive gestures, which can help you express your unconditional love for your child. A pat on the back, a stroke on the cheek, a small handwritten note, a thumbs-up; these speak so much more than long-winded messages.
Examine your tone of voice. Listen out for its intensity and loudness. Messages conveyed softly and are easier to intercept and accept. In addition, our tone can sound firm and confident or uncertain and meek/trusting or critical/proud or disappointed/excited or sad.
When a parent-child relationship is positive, the child is eager to hear from and please the parent. However, when the relationship is strained, it is important to examine our forms of communication. Think of non-verbal ways to express genuinely positive messages to the child-and you will see how far these silent messages can reach.
Nowadays, many Americans are left scratching their heads and wondering where this country went wrong, says author Derek J. McNally, a native of England. He shares his thoughts while offering advice for parents on how to raise future generations in the short yet informative “Short Cuts, Greed and Corruption: Your Children, Our Country’s Salvation.”
McNally simply points to corruption and greed as America’s downfalls. He feels that society currently accepts corruption as a part of life. As he sees it, no one is standing up to say that what is going on is wrong, and since we are all affected by it, it’s hard to understand why no one is doing anything to stop it.
“Short Cuts, Greed and Corruption” offers parents and soon-to-be parents a set of ideas as to how they can create a better generation. McNally touches on the importance of integrity, accountability and commonsense, characteristics he believes that many Americans currently lack. By avoiding short cuts and greed in their adult life, the author hopes this future generation can create a better future America. (Excerpted from http://www.newparent.com/)
I truly believe that the next generation lies in your hands. If you want your children to be productive members of society, let them see how you are. If you want your children to be honest and reputable people, show them that you are. If you want your children to respect others, let them see how you respect others.
Bottom line, practice what you preach and remember that children live by the ideals we practice.