Everybody says that parenting is a hard job. That is quite an understatement. Not only there is no manual on how to raise children, you have to change your strategies as they grow older. Here are some techniques on how to discipline your children that have proven to be effective at different ages:
1.Rule setting: this has to be clear to the child as early as possible. Children need to know that they are to follow their parents’ instructions. You would be surprised at how young an age children are able to understand this concept, so the sooner you reinforce it the better.
2.Timeouts: this means to isolate the child or take him to a specific place from which the child should not move from or out of. This works for toddlers to teenagers, only then it is known as grounding. A word of caution: since this is a form of punishment or negative reinforcement due to bad behavior, the child will identify the place as a bad spot to be. This means do not use their bedroom, feeding chair or play pin.
3.Explain consequences of actions and offer praise: it is important for children to understand why something is wrong, not just to obey blindly. This is especially important at older ages, when children start to question their parents and can rebel if they feel something is a simple imposition. It is just as crucial to offer positive reinforcement when a good behavior is learned and repeated. This has to be acknowledged and celebrated to make the behavior you want repeated very clear. It is especially important with younger kids to establish rules and with older kids to recognize their efforts.
4.Take away privileges: this is more for older children. It is important to establish responsibility and have your kids assume the consequences of their actions, if they break a rule or misbehave, they will lose a privilege. Positive reinforcements work very well combined with this, if they show good behavior they will get their privilege back.
In general, it is important to always treat your children with respect. Even though “because I said so” can give you a very nice power trip, it will not make things easier on anybody. At the end of the day children learn better by example, so if what they learn is that things are this or that way just because, they will soon begin to make their own rules. And you will be in for an even more challenging ride.
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