I don’t know about you, but discipline is literally the hardest part of parenting for me and while I have two sweet little kiddos, it’s something I struggle with every single day. It’s hard to know the right way to discipline and teach your children to become respectful little humans, you know?
And you know what? I’m not alone. According to this ZERO TO THREE article, “Of the 86% of parents who use redirection or distraction, only 29% say it’s effective. Of the 81% who take toys away as a punishment, only 28% find it useful. Parents find harsher discipline strategies even less effective. More than a quarter of all parents (26%) say they “pop or swat” their children a few times a week or more, but a full 80% of these parents say it is not an effective strategy. Sixteen percent say they intentionally embarrass their child regularly, but 85% of these parents don’t find it useful.”
Do those statistics surprise you at all?
It really makes you take a step back and analyze what you’re doing for discipline currently and if that method of discipline is effective, doesn’t it?
Discipline Tips + Tricks:
1. Every Kid is Different: This is where things get a little tricky. One method of discipline may work great for Alea, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to work well for Mckenna down the road. When you parent multiple kids, you also have to adjust your parenting to parent to multiple personalities. It’s surprising at times, but two kids from the same parents can still be very different and unique individuals. You need to cater to their uniqueness with your approach to discipline.
2. Try to Determine the “Why”: Has it been a rough day? Did your child not get enough sleep last night? Is it past nap time? Are they hungry? Are they just trying to get your undivided attention? Are they experiencing sensory overload? Sometimes the easiest way to prevent the tantrums and acting out is to adhere to a routine as much as possible, give your children love and one-on-one time throughout the day, and when they do act out (let’s face it, it’s inevitable sometimes) take a step back and try to determine if there’s a “why” behind their behavior.
3. Remember, This Behavior is Normal: Children approach the world around them with emotion, because they are not yet able to approach things with logic and reason. That’s our job to teach them that. Tantrums and sadness and acting out are frustrating and quite annoying for us as the parents, but it’s our child’s way of telling us something isn’t quite right for them.
4. Take a Positive Approach: Our reaction to the behavior described above can teach them how they should react to stress and change around them. Help them put a name to their feeling and help them to validate those feelings. If they’re able to put a name and feel some empathy with their feelings children may be less likely to act out in the future.
5. Avoid Harsh Punishment: I know there’s a big debate on whether or not to spank a child. Some people feel that kids are they way they are these days because they don’t get spanked and the older generation “turned out better” because they did. I’m not going to dive too far into this, but what I will say is that before you take a harsh approach to discipline take a giant step back, assess your emotions and ask yourself if your emotions have gotten out of control and if you’re acting in anger towards the situation or towards your child rather than trying to punish the specific behavior. Also note that harsh punishment may work initially as your child may likely discontinue their behavior out of fear, but it is not a long-term solution to teaching them appropriate behavior and self-control. (Off my soapbox!)
More Information on Discipline:
ZERO TO THREE is a not-for-profit charitable organization that’s main focus is to ensure all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. They work to train those who work with babies and families and work to show communities the importance of early childhood development and education. They recognize that infancy and childhood is the time in life where the most brain development takes place and this is when caregivers are more likely to influence cognitive, emotional and social development.
ZERO TO THREE has a wide range of parenting resources aimed to help guide parents through this influential period of development in the young child.
Discipline is certainly not the easiest part of parenting, but there are ways you can approach discipline to make it a more “enjoyable” (if you can call it that) experience for all.
How do you approach discipline in your home?