Raising children is tough, and sometimes the stress and exhaustion cause even the best parents to make discipline mistakes. While every parent strives to do their best, many fall into discipline tactics that will backfire in the long run. Here are five discipline mistakes to avoid, and a few better strategies to get your kids to listen and behave.
1. Idle Threats
We’ve all threatened our children when the going gets tough. Does “If you don’t clean up I’m throwing out these toys,” sound familiar? The trouble with making threats and not following through is that your kids will catch on fast. Your children will turn a deaf ear and assume you are all talk, no action.
Instead of losing your cool and making extreme threats, give a stern warning. If bad behavior continues, immediately follow through with a time out. Set reasonable consequences that you’re likely to follow through with, such as no television for an evening as opposed to no television for a week. Always follow through with your discipline tactic, because once your kids know you mean business, they will listen up the next time you give the warning.
2. Keep a United Front
In many families, there is a case of “good cop, bad cop.” One parent is tough, the other is a pushover. It’s all too easy to undermine your partner when dealing with your children, but the truth is, your kids will catch on quick and work the system.
While you may not agree with your partner’s punishments (or lack thereof) you need to battle it out in private. Discuss appropriate behaviors and set consequences. The punishments may differ as long as there are consequences for the same actions.
3. Too Many Bribes
We all resort to bribes every now and again. Trips to the store, sitting through church and behaving in a waiting room can all prove difficult for small children. The trouble begins when parents constantly use bribes for good behavior. Your child will soon expect small treats or candies every time they behave, rather than know good behavior is expected regardless of rewards.
If you need to promise a small chocolate for trying a new vegetable, or a small toy for a trip to the doctor, there is no harm as long as it’s a rare occurrence. Make a mental note to reinforce good behavior daily through praise instead. Thank your child for sitting still while waiting in line, and explain how good behavior helps mom or dad.
4. Losing Your Cool
There are days that parenting can get extremely frustrating. Our kids push our buttons and before we know it we’re screaming like a lunatic. While it’s tough to control our anger, screaming and yelling constantly will only cause our children to tune us out. We also need to make sure our anger isn’t stemming from something else, such as stress at work.
When you feel like you’re going to lose your cool, walk away and breathe. A change of scenery may help calm nerves. If you have a partner nearby, tell them you need a break. Parents often speak to their own kids worse than they would speak to strangers. It’s important to treat our children with respect, and remember to discipline from a loving place.
5. Wait too Long
If your child is misbehaving at breakfast, making her punishment no bedtime story may not do the trick. If it was dinner, she might listen up, but at breakfast bedtime is simply too far away.
It’s important that punishments are immediate. When punishments are hours away we’re less likely to follow through, and our kids are less likely to listen. If you need good behavior at breakfast, use a time out or take away a morning snack.
Discipline is not easy, and every family needs to find what works best for them. As long as you discipline from a loving place and stay firm, you will see great results. Stay away from making threats out of anger and remember to stay calm. Before long your kids will listen up when you give a warning, and you will feel less frustration when behavior gets out of control.
About the Author
Need tips on how to purchase a stroller that will keep your family active from the very start? As a stay-at-home father, author Rick knows how important it is to stay active and teach children healthy life habits through eating and an active lifestyle. Check out the Baby Jogger City Mini stroller reviews.