I'm back with my third post on parenting for this month. This time, I would like to talk about disciplining our kids. Imposing a proper discipline at home will make your kids conscious about the consequences of their actions, and the best time to start is during their formative years. Children's formative years is the best time to start instilling to them the value of discipline as this is the period where our children listen and believe whatever we tell them. This is also the time where our children tend to mimic our lifestyle and behavior so showing them an example will help a lot to make them adopt our set of rules at home. For example, if you want them to be wary about cleanliness and orderliness at home. Then try to show them how you yourself is well organized with your own things. If they are already used seeing your house clean and tidy all the time, then their eyes will be used to that kind of environment and later on, they themselves would not feel comfortable staying in a messy place and so.... they will adopt being clean and organized themselves. I have done this with my kids and I was successful with it.
Now for the guidelines in disciplining your child, here are what Dr. Harold J. Sala listed from his book, "Train Up a Child":
- Establish clear limits of behavior. Be consistent with our rules. What is black is black, what is white is white. There should be no gray areas so as not to confuse our child. If we say for example. Bed time should be at 8 PM, the by all means it should be by 8PM.
- Enforce boundaries with consistent discipline. Mom and Dad should first discuss the set of rules they want to impose to their children at home. It shouldn't be a separate thing. It shouldn't be a Mom's rule or a Dad's rule. It must be a "rule of the house".
- Administer discipline in private. Of course who would like to get the scolding in public. I'm a very hot tempered person and my children were both aware of it, but through the years, I tried myself to mellow down. Kids are growing and so, they begin to be conscious about their privacy and "saving face". So I guess, parents should learn to accept the fact and make a conscious efforts to discipline our child in private to avoid embarrasment.
- Establish responsibility for a wrong doing. As parents, we have the moral obligation to make our children realize the consequences of their actions. For example, if our children failed to study their lessons because of giving preference to their personal hobbies...let them realize that as a result, they will get poor grades and perhaps later will make their ranking in school sank..and therefore will frustrate their parents, teachers and friends and maybe later will led to losing their scholarship.
- Show grief over the offense. Instead of anger, show your kids that you feel equally sad with their wrong doing. This will make them more regretful of the wrong doing they have committed and would probably try their best to avoid recurrence of similar offense. Children never want to see their parents upset so they will do their best to make up for the offense.
- Administer discipline firmly and thoroughly. Dr. Sala said, "If a child has to be disciplined, do a good enough job of it so that he knows what is happening. When a parent whacks a child or spank him accross his mouth, he is not administering a thorough job of discipline. If discipline is necessary, spank hard and long enough to give an impression but not hard enough to make bruise or break the skin."
- Allow a child to vent his emotions and then talk with him. When you scold, scold firmly or spank when necessary. Let him cry but do not leave him until he stopped crying, then talk to him again to clarify and explain why he was punished.
- Once a matter has been dealt with, consider it forgiven. Once the attention of the child was already called for his wrong doing, and that the necessary punishment has already been inflicted on him, after explaining him the consequences of his actions and why the punishment is necessary to correct his behavior, then it's time to forgive and forget...
- Get discipline to the age and offense of your child. Dr Sala said, "it is ridiculous that a mother should try to spank his son who is sixteen years old and is 5 inches taller than her." Think of appropriate punishment for your children according to their age. Spanking is only done to small children. When they grew up and become teen agers. A different approach should be used such as confiscating their cell phones or restricting them to go out, stick with your restriction no matter how loud they protest.
- Balance discipline with personal attention. Some children purposely commit a wrong doing just to get their parents attention and we must be wary of it. As per Dr. Sala, "nothing is a greater gift to your child nor will anything contribute more to his good behavior than the gift of yourself."
I am not saying that I am a perfect parent...I also have some flaws when it comes to disciplining my children, it's safe to say that I'm learning through experience and experience is my best teacher. The most important thing is we, as parents also know how to admit our mistakes in front of our children and apologize when necessary. Our children understand us as much as we understand them. :)
Have a great Sunday!