BY- Dr Anjali Sangwan
Children get back from school. Happy and excited. The house turns into heaps of litter. Mealtime takes hours to end. Sibling war breaks out. You want to run out of the house.
You reprimand. Children rebel. The parental Love that filled every pore of your being in the morning, evaporates. The authoritarian chant of “because I am the MOTHER/FATHER,” gets no results.Shouting or spanking or both ensue.
The negativity in the family is palpable. The children’s hearts are crushed.
Well, parenting is tough.The responsibility of shaping children into happy, self-reliant individuals is no mean feat.
Sometimes children will not align to your rules and expectations. Do discipline them; albeit with Love.
Disciplining children with Love, by no means undermines the importance of discipline itself. The process is more of a marathon than a sprint.Your aim should not alter a high-energy and boisterous child into a mellow one.
- It is alright to say no, but you must accompany that with a why:
- Be a team with your child and look for acceptable solutions:
Work your discipline drive in accordance with the child’s age and temperament.Or else she /he is likely to get frustrated and give up.
- Develop negotiable and non-negotiable rules:
A parent-child relationship sans rules can run into chaos.Form rules which can or cannot be bent.Challenging a parent’s authority or ignoring safety rules can be grouped in non-negotiable rules.The decided consequence must follow. A request for an extra hour to the bedtime, on a weekend ,can be negotiable.
- Consistency pays:
The consequences for unacceptable behavior must follow. Droning on with lectures will get little headway. For not doing homework, you could take away privileges like watching television or going shopping . Something that the child knows you will do. Fudging on the rules creates confusion for the child. Besides, you will have less credibility next time.
- Nothing could be more damaging than verbal attacks:
Derogatory words spoken in the heat of the moment, get etched in the child’s memory and tear her/his heart. Behave the way you want the child to behave with you. Desist from calling her/him names which she/he does not like.
“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”–Lady Bird Johnson,Former First Lady of the United States.
- No corporal punishment, please:
Just because you can, you should not. Physical punishment or spanking can easily spin out of control. It severely damages the child’s self confidence. A violent parent shows the child that it is alright to be violent to the world. Non-physical punishments are lasting.
“Everywhere, everywhere, children are the scorned people of the earth.”–Toni Morrison, Beloved
- Compliment the child:
A favorite treat or a kind word is all it takes. Reward your child for good behavior.Words like responsible,sincere, well-organized have an encouraging impact.
- Relax, calm down:
Count till 10 or move away from the scene of chaos. Speak in a calm voice and acknowledge the child’s frustration. You will be able to get a handle on the child’s willful disobedience, tantrum, or plain misbehavior.
- Look for the trigger:
Maybe the child is hungry, sleepy, has had a bad day in school, or is upset about a family problem. Understand and address the matter with your child.
- Provide a comforting family environment:
The child seeks validation of her /his existence in your world. A few hugs, gentle pats on the back, exclusive chat with eye contact, are a must through the day. Your display of affection reassures the child of your support. Ignore small matters. Before raising your voice, ask yourself if the issue is important. Laugh a lot with the child.
- FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
Accept the parenting challenge. Effective discipline takes time and patience. I am sure, you will agree that very few things are more valuable to a parent than the sound of laughter and the sight of happy children. Correct behavior, but don’t blunt out streaks of fun and natural curiosity.
Did you find the post insightful ? Is there a parenting challenge you want to share? I would love to hear from you in the comments section below, dear Readers.
Happy Parenting !