The first thing a parent needs to understand is that there is a difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline techniques are used to teach children how to control their own behavior whereas punishment is the parent taking control of their child's behavior. There are several disciplinary methods that can be used for toddlers and children to help them learn acceptable behavior, how to respect others and the difference between right and wrong. Discipline should leave your child feeling secure, loved, self-confident, and give your child the right tools to control his or her impulses through self-discipline.
Some effective ways to discipline children are:
1. Express Your Disapproval - Children, especially toddlers seek approval from their parents. If you let your child know you do not approve of their behavior, it gives them reason to pause and think before trying it again. Remember to disapprove only of the behavior and not of the child. This style works when it is stated clearly one time. Going on and on will only lead to the child tuning out your words and will defeat the purpose. There is a fine line between wimpy and bossy disapproval, so be firm but respectful with your child.
2. Ignoring Mild Misbehavior - Ignoring unacceptable behavior is another good tactic for disciplining your child. Behaviors that this style works for include things like nose picking, saying a bad word, or making annoying noises. If you ignore it, the child sees that they are not getting the attention that was expected making it worthless to them.
3. Communicating - Effective communication is one of the best ways to discipline your child. This requires talking and listening to each other. You can use reason and teach your child how to reason by communicating with them. When you have this discussion, make sure to lay out how the behavior is unacceptable and what the consequences are for such behavior.
4. Timeouts - You can also call timeouts thinking time if you prefer. This is a method used to give your child time to think about their behavior and how it did not get the desired reaction. The appropriate time for thinking time is one minute per the age of the child and no longer. Toddlers have short attention spans, so long timeouts lose their effectiveness.
If you are having some problems with disciplining your little one it does not mean you are doing it wrong. It simply means children have different temperaments and develop at different rates, so it may take some trial and error to find out what discipline style works the best for you and your child.
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