Your child would push your buttons if you are a parent that gets easily worked up. That said, we are all humans and everyday pressures take the best of us. Disciplining is a long road. Every day will bring up new challenges, and you need to handle them as calmly as possible. As your child grows, you will also grow as a parent. Just try to be a better person, and a calm and a happy parent.
The first rule of disciplining your child is to spare the rod. For your good, and for your kid. Anger would get the worst of you, and teach your kid to lash out when angry. Rather, I suggest the following ways to discipline your child.
Do as you say
Be a role model, in every sense of the word. If you want your child to be punctual, do things on time yourself. If you want your kid to not snap back, do not shout at him/her.
Introduce the concept of sorry
If the child does not know why we say sorry, they might not know the right from wrong. Say it often, and see them pick it up.
‘You do good, you get rewarded.’ Repeat this often. Make a chart, and give them stickers to stick on it when the kid is being an absolute darling. You can also get them a piggy bank, and give them a coin each time they are being nice. This will also enable them to learn the concept of savings.
Try naughty corner when s/he are repeatedly indulging in bad behaviour or a rule is broken. This corner should be devoid of any toys/stationery or windows. It should be a time out from all things that can engage your kid, and before leaving the kid there, tell her/him: ‘think about what you did, and tell me what could you have done to not deserve this.’
Loss of privilege
If the child is being aggressive in school or is hitting at home, take away their privileges (not going to park that day/ taking away a favourite book or toy till they say sorry).
If you sense a tantrum or bad behaviour, redirect it. If the child is impatient, and cannot sit through a task, break the task in smaller action points so to avoid her/him throwing a tantrum. If your kid is about to hit, hold them and hug them. Talk to them in low voice, and redirect the anger.
Always tell your child about the consequences of her/his good and bad actions. Hitting means no one plays with you/ not doing your homework means no school, not doing chores means messy house, etc.
Forgive and forget
Once an action has been done, and the child has been reprimanded for it, do not talk about it that day. Kids move on quickly, and so should you.
Books and audio-visual aids
Get them books or videos that teach your kid about the virtues and good manners.
This is the best tool of all. After the situation has subsided, talk to your kid while sitting next to her/him, understand their point-of-view and once you know the trigger, see if you as a parent can solve it.
Remember, a kid goes through all kinds of phases – aggressive, demanding, cranky. Sometimes, various phases in a single day. Not everything is everlasting, just like their childhood. As a parent, stay positive and calm and see your child blossom beautifully.
Ananya is a Delhi-based working mother. The strategies listed here have been tested by her personally on her now five-year-old son.
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