The joy of being parents overshadows a lot of things in life, but that does not mean that one forgets their duty of disciplining children. Children model their parents' behavior, habits, values and thinking. In short, parents have the most influence on their kids, especially, in the early stages of their life. Along with inculcating behavior, values and habits, parents need to also discipline their children effectively. This becomes imperative and is important because if left to their own devices, children will end up creating a lot of chaos, which in later life will make it difficult for them to adjust in society.
Many parents face several problems and moral issues when it comes to disciplining their children because they automatically associate the term 'disciplining' with punishments or beatings. That is definitely not what this concept is all about. This article will help you understand how to go about disciplining children without yelling at them, or beating them and yet turning them into well behaved children.
Tools of Effective Discipline
Children Have Personalities Too!
Children have a mind of their own, and the faster you know that, the better it is for you. Never underestimate a child by relegating him to the category of being small or little and therefore having no power or influence, so to speak. Wrong. Your child might not have any experience of life like you do, but the child has a personality of his own, nonetheless. Understand that he is a human with personality traits and learn to deal with him that way. That is the first step to effective child care.
Understand Their Psychology
Every child is different. Learn where he comes from. At a stage where you are employing means to carry forth discipline, they are still very young and have no experience in life. So it is useless yelling and expecting them to understand! How can they, when they cannot yet differentiate between what is right and what is wrong? Or they don't know what is the right behavior? When you get this into your mind, it will be easier for you to deal with.
Place yourself in your child's shoes for a moment. Imagine that you are being yelled at for not doing something right. What is it doing to you? Making you feel helpless, fearful, angry and humiliated? Correct. Now think back to the time in school when you could not solve a math sum and the teacher yelled at you. Did you not feel helpless because you didn't even know the formula to solve the sum? Did you not want the teacher to explain it to you once more? But the way she yelled made you become fearful and you could never muster the courage? That is exactly what you are doing to the child. He/she does not yet know the difference between right and wrong and your yelling is not going to make him learn any faster, it is in fact going to make him regress because effective social development has not taken place yet.
Talk to Them
Children like to be treated as equals, mind you. They do not like to be tread on just because they are little. So if there are certain disciplinary tactics that you want to teach them, for example - not wearing shoes over the carpet, washing ones hands before a meal, not borrowing others' things without taking permission etc., give them live examples. Like if they don't wash their hands before a meal - tell them why it is important, what would happen if they didn't do it, the infections they would get and the like (in vocabulary that a child will understand). This will help them remember better. And the next time they forget, calmly explain it to them again.
When They Don't Listen
Kids are smart. Sometimes they might see that they are getting away with things and then continue to do it. That is your true test of mettle. Do not scream, yell or hit them, it's not gonna work. Try raising your voice a little and firmly telling them. If you've never done this before, they'll know you mean business. Remember to only raise your voice. It should be just slightly higher than your normal voice. If the child is small then giving empty threats works - but be very, very careful with that one. Like if they are not taking their meals then you could just tell your husband or wife in front of the kid something to the effect of - "Only you and I will get a candy from the candy fairy because we've had our meals. Nathan won't get any, because he hasn't". Teaching autistic children discipline requires more time and a different, more patient approach.
When kids learn that anything goes and start behaving just as they please, the temptation 'to set them straight' is foremost. Don't. Instead, ignore their baseless tantrums and they'll get the message. When you feed their tantrums with "I will listen to everything you do", it's like giving them the green signal to behave the way they please. So don't. They love you unconditionally, so they don't really like it when you are angry. This is especially true when it comes to disciplining children with autism. Many times, they throw tantrums (not physically hurting oneself or others, that is) because they get away with them. Positive discipline works best in such a case. Reinforcing positive behavior is the key. And patience!!
Reinforce Good Behavior
Reinforcing positive discipline works as well. Just as one goes about using disciplinary tactics with children, one has to also use reinforcements for their good behavior. When they learn a 'rule' effectively and learn to follow it, award them with praises and other small measures. This will encourage them to keep at it and over time it'll become a habit.
Be Model Parents
Children model their parents so make sure that you are portraying the same behavior which you are teaching them. That is one way of carrying forth truly effective child development.
One of the quotes from the Holy Bible says "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11). Disciplining children might seem like a gargantuan task at that time, but it needs to be done to mold your children into model citizens and polite, well-behaved, sensitive individuals. But remember to never yell and shout. It won't help.