By the time your children become teenagers you will have went through as many types, forms and ideas for discipline as you will have rolls of toilet paper. Unlike the toilet paper which will in most cases do essentially the same thing; the forms of discipline will not. Some will work, some won’t and some will be harder to implement and stick to than it is to always ensure that your home is stocked with plenty of toilet paper. Raising children means two things; lots of discipline and lots of wasted toilet paper!
By now, you are probably scouring the internet, pulling out all those parenting books and trying to find something; one thing – that you haven’t tried to try and get your child to behave and act normal. Truth is; there is no such thing as normal and there is no such thing as one method of discipline that is fool proof for children. But there are tons and tons of ideas and more than likely something will finally click with your child. When it comes to ideas for disciplining a child the key is to remain open minded and be willing to make the alterations on the parental level always being receptive to the changing needs of your child as they grow up!
Firstly it is important to recognize that in any form of discipline there are a few things that remain constant. One of those things is consistency. This means doing the same thing every time for every kid in your household and using a generic outline of rules and expectations so that your children consistently know what is expected of them. Another constant in discipline is to remain firm and assertive with your children. This doesn’t mean that you are a hard nosed monster; but that when it comes to discipline you use a firm voice and are assertive which ensures your child recognizes that you mean business. Depending on your child’s level is it important to explain things properly and completely leaving no holes in the fence with which your child will sneak through with uncertainty. Consistency, firmness and clarity are the foundations for all discipline and are the responsibility of the parents!
Creative Ideas for Disciplining a Child
- Use a point system where children earn points for good behavior and lose points for breaking the rules. At the end of a week or month, allow the children to choose a special activity the family can do together and set a point goal with which the children must reach to be able to go on the outing. For instance if they earn 40 points they can go to the local amusement park.
- For young children using a visual chart where they can place magnets or stickers on the chart for following the rules, making good decisions etc is a great way to guide them through the discipline process. The chart should clearly list expectations and unhappy faces can be used for less than desirable behaviors.
- Use a mason jar and have a child write down all the things they like to do; for instance swim in the pool, go to the park, ride their bike etc. When they misbehave they will have to reach in the jar and pull out their consequence. If they pull out the ‘swim’ card they will not be allowed to swim for a certain period of time etc.
- In order to get children to begin cleaning up their rooms- implement a cleaning or sweep period. Set a timer once a day (preferably evening) and play loud music and have the entire family clean up their things, rooms etc attempting to get it done in the allotted time. Making it a race will make it fun and they will be learning responsibility for their belongings.
- Giving choices is one way to deal with discipline. You can use the choice system to allow them to decide how they are going to behave and even allow them to pick the lesser of two evils for picking their punishment. This gives them a sense of control and allows them to take responsibility for their actions.
- Using chore lists and rotating cleaning duties etc using a chart will keep the house organized, avoid the ‘who’s turn is it’ fight and make it clear what the daily expectations of every child in the home is. At the end of the day before bed the parent can go over the chart with each child, opening up dialogue and affirming responsibility. If everything is not complete perhaps an added chore or a TV restriction is placed on the child for the next day.
It is not hard to come by ideas for disciplining children. What is important is that whatever form you use whether it be time-outs, restrictions or something else; it is teaching them to curb their behaviors and teaches them about consequence to their action. Children need limits and thrive when they are in situations that offer them clear boundaries and clear forms of consequence. Every few months it is important to restructure your discipline and sit down with the kids to see whether or not they think it is working. By allowing children to be part of the solution, treating them with respect and separating bad behavior from negative self image discipline can be the pivotal element in your child’s life that ensures them life long success.