Parenting is a fine balancing act, knowing when to call time out on certain behaviour and when to let certain things go, while making sure you’re having fun together. Here are some ways parents can send children a clear message about discipline.
No means no
There is no room for negotiating when a rule is broken. Being permissive about bad behaviour sets the wrong precedent. Let them know why what they did is wrong and talk about what privileges they would be losing. Be firm but keep communication lines open. If you think your child is being unduly aggressive, look for the underlying cause.
Resist the temptation to yell and silence your kids into behaving. That won’t work for long, perhaps only till your back is turned again. If you really want to be heard, count to 10, stay calm and let them know what you’re thinking. When you look kids in the eye and speak calmly, they’re bound to get the message loud and clear. If your toddler is high on energy, look for constructive ways to channelise it.
Don’t be overly strict
Nurture a friendship with the kids. Explain the reason for rules and why it benefits them in the long-term to follow these. It’s never a good idea to have them respond to you out of fear. Dr Daniel Siegel, co-author of No-Drama Discipline, recommends chasing the “why”. “Instead of focusing only on behaviour, look for what’s behind the actions. Why is my child acting this way? What is my child communicating? By getting below eye level, then giving a loving touch, a nod of the head, or an empathetic look, you can often quickly diffuse a heated situation.”
Let it go
You can turn a blind eye to certain things, hoping they’ll learn on their own. For instance, if your child is indiscriminately cutting up paper, they will soon understand that they’ll have nothing left for crafts. As long as they are in a safe space, you can allow them to make mistakes and learn from it.