Discipline and Your Child
Deciding the right way to discipline your child is difficult, particularly since we all have different views of how it should be approached. Those of us from old school families remember the not so good old days of corporal punishment. Today, there are many schools of thought on how to discipline your child.
Even if there was a set rule for disciplining your child, this rule would have to be catered to the specific age of your child. After all, a long lecture about the danger of crossing the road when there are cars coming is somewhat lost on a two-year-old, while a simple ‘no!' to your teenager is not nearly enough.
Once your child is young enough to understand ‘no' – at about 6 months or so – you will likely begin to use it frequently. Try to give your baby a bit more than that. Imagine you were in your kitchen making dinner and someone burst in the door and shouted ‘no!' at you. Would you wonder exactly what it was that you were doing wrong? Probably.
In the beginning keep it simple – no biting, no throwing, etc. When they get a bit older, from 1-2 years, you can start to expand on that. ‘No, you can't touch the stove because it is hot,' or ‘no, you don't hit because it hurts.' This not only lets your child know what they are doing wrong, but why it is wrong.
It is around this time that you will begin to introduce the concept of consequences. For example, if they are throwing a toy you would tell them the first time ‘No, you don't throw your toys because it could break or you could hurt someone.' If the behavior continues, try to get them away from the behavior with a distraction like ‘I know you are having trouble remembering not to throw your toys, so let's paint a picture instead.' After that, it is time to introduce a consequence: ‘Since you are having trouble not throwing your toys, I am going to put them away now and we will paint instead.'
The most important factor in using discipline with your child is to never lose your cool. Your child has to learn from you that it is not okay to raise their voice, yell, or scream, even in tough situations. If you find that you are getting emotional, make sure your child is safe and leave the room. Come back when you are ready to use a consistent and calm method of discipline as mentioned above.