My Hopeful Family

Discipline, an act of love. Ten steps to teach discipline to children

“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace. They will bring you the delights you desire”.
Proverbs 29:17

Many parents think discipline is about punishing children when they disobey our rules and commands, but discipline is so much more than that. To discipline our children is first and foremost, to teach them techniques and methods to solve or better any problem or situation that is relevant to them.

Discipline is an act of love in which parents or caregiver patiently show their children, good habits and behavior and the consequences of not doing it. To discipline parents must first ensure that they provide their children with clear and appropriate information. Explain the purpose, expectations, and results in a way that the child can understand. Take your time explaining the consequences. Questions and repetition help in keeping children interested.

Let said, for example, that you want your kids to learn to make their beds and clean their bedroom. First, show them how to do it. Tell them why it is good; I would say something like cleaning your room makes it easier to find our things; it also looks so lovely and makes us feel good. Cleaning is so vital to our health. Dust hurt our lungs and affects our breathing. I love to make my bed every morning and come home to a clean and organized bedroom. I want you to make your beds every day and to clean your room once a week. If you choose not to make your bed and clean your room once a week the consequences will be, that your bedroom will be messy and disorganized and I will take thirty minutes off your weekly electronic schedule. This example offers a good explanation of how to convey information and expectations to our children. Also, make sure to ask if there any questions and listen carefully to what they have to say.

Another type of discipline that is important to address is the one that we must do with each child depending upon their character. A child may struggle with all kinds of emotions and behavior, and we must be on the lookout to help him address it. Some of the most challenging emotions are worry, fear, and anger. These three tend to trap a child into a fixed mindset, sometimes isolating him into a specific destructive path.

In the case of anger, children can become overwhelmed and frustrated and express themselves by yelling, hitting, or running away. A good course of action is to wait until your child is not angry anymore and have a conversation about what happened. Empower your child with helpful information. Let him/her know that anger is a passing emotion that is stronger for the first 20-30 minutes, and then it starts to deflate. Ensure him/her that it is okay to get angry and then give your child a course of action to do when he/she recognized that they are feeling upset. In our case, we have advised our children to excuse themselves and go to their bedroom or bathroom if in school and wash their face and take a few deep breaths and think about what exactly got them angry and return a few minutes later when calm.

Our six year old used to be a fearless little girl up until she turned four and met fear. Now, she wants always to play it safe. When we see that fear is taking away from her experiences, we talk to her about it. For example, the other day, we noticed that she would not go into a medium-sized pool. My husband started the conversation with how are you doing? She said okay, then he asked her why you not in the pool. She did not disclose her fears right away, but my husband gently kept asking until she agreed to go with him into the pool. We are teaching her not to isolate her fears within herself but to express it, and together, we try to unpack whatever makes her afraid with the intention of liberating her from her worries.

The most challenging part of discipline for me is to allow the consequences. It is hard. I must admit that I give them lots of chances. However, consequences are an essential aspect of discipline. It is a part of the puzzle that we must not skip. If we avoid consequences or bypass them, then we are sending the wrong message. The children will think that if nothing happens when they skip a task, then they are either optional or not that important.

I have put together a list of ten steps to help you discipline your children,

  1. Teach, give your child as much information on what it is that you want them to learn. How and when to use it, why it is important, and what happens if you don’t.
  2. Carefully observe and tried to get an idea of how your child is dealing with the new discipline. Is it easy? Or those it seems hard for him. Make adjustments base on your observations.
  3. Ask your child what they think about the new discipline. Listen carefully to any comments, questions, or concerns. Compare what they say with what you observed. If there are discrepancies between what they say and your findings, wait and continue watching, then gently question your child.
  4. When your child does not follow what you told him, gently remind him. If the misbehavior continues on and off, allow your child to face the consequences.
  5. Talk to your kids about how they felt dealing with the consequences as opposed to when they follow what you taught him/her.
  6. Be patient. Repeat these steps as often as needed. Remember that us human beings, do learn through repetition.
  7. Stay motivated. Do not give up. Every child is different and has a unique way of learning.
  8. When you find a behavior or emotion that needs correction, don’t get angry. Remember that your child probably doesn’t know how to deal with it. Instead, correct the behavior and offer an alternative.
  9. Do not overwhelm your kids with too many corrections.
  10. Praise your child when they have mastered a task.

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