Better Behavior Through Loving Discipline – Early Years
As your children grow up, it’s natural for them to challenge you. Sometimes, it
seems easier to just let them have their own way. But all children need limits,
and they need parents to guide them. Discipline works best with a balance of
love, respect, clearly defined rules, and understanding. Here are some secrets
of effective discipline.
Make the Rules Clear
Children do best when they
know what to expect. Talk about family rules and explain the consequences
clearly. For example, for a rule such as “Take care of belongings,” you might
tell them if they leave their bikes out, they don’t get to ride them the next
day. As your children learn to read, write down the rules and put them on the
refrigerator as a reminder. Children are more likely to remember the rules if
there are a few broad ones, rather than many specific ones.
Be Consistent and Firm
You can expect your
children to “test” the rules from time to time. When they do, try to stand your
ground and apply the set consequences. Being firm and consistent lets them know
that you mean business.
Give Positive Feedback
Try to focus more on what
your children do right than on what they do wrong. This will encourage them to
try even harder to behave. So, when you see behavior you’d like repeated, let
them know. Example: “Thanks for hanging up your coat and backpack!”