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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ways to Discipline

There are many, many ways to discipline one’s child. (The use of duct tape is not advised, although I have been tempted to use it on many occasions.) One of the biggest things a parent has to learn when it comes to discipline is...
...which forms of discipline work best in one’s own child. Each child is different, and what works for one child will not necessarily work for another.

One of my favorite discipline programs is Parenting with Love and Logic, which stresses that children be allowed to experience the natural consequences of their behavior without parents rescuing them. For example, if a child refuses to wear a coat on a cool autumn day, the parent doesn’t argue with the child and engage in a power battle. When the child becomes uncomfortably cold, she learns that the wise thing to do is wear a coat. This discipline philosophy also stresses that parents give plenty of empathy to their children when they make not-so-smart choices, saying something like, “Boy, the wind is really blowing. It is a bummer to feel so chilled on a day like today.”

Many parents use time-outs to give their children (and themselves) time to calm down. Trying to reason with a child in the heat of the moment never, ever works, so time outs allow everyone to cool off and be more receptive to rational conversation.

For the littlest children, distraction is one of the best disciplinary tools. For children under age three, simply removing them from a situation or showing them something new is often all that is needed to keep them from getting hurt or breaking items.

Being observant and praising a child when he behaves well is a great technique. Expressing approval of good behavior helps a child know what he should do, as well as improves the parent-child relationship, since the parent isn’t constantly saying, “Don’t,” “NO!,” and “Stop!”

No one ever said raising children is easy, but there are plenty of disciplinary techniques for helping children learn appropriate behavior.

Please share with us the techniques that work best in your family.

Contributed by Carrie Vittitoe, parent-writer for Today's Family magazine.


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