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How To Discipline A Child

By Emma Davies


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Being a parent isn’t easy especially when you have to tackle the immense challenge that is discipline. The good news is that every parent struggles with this.

How To Discipline A Child

The truth is, just like any aspect of parenting, child discipline isn’t written in stone and there are lots of ways to go about it. Some are certainly more healthy than others – mindful parenting is definitely going to be a better form of discipline than say helicopter parenting. Let’s teach you the ins and outs of discipline and help you tackle the huge battle that it can be.

Before we start, we want to introduce you to this quote – “There are no bad children, only bad behavior”. So, it’s important to remember this when you’re disciplining your child. Through discipline, you’re teaching your kid what behavior is right and so you’re improving their behavior so people don’t see them as bad kids.

Methods of Discipline

There are many different types of discipline and each parent’s go to discipline method will vary depending on their beliefs and preferences. Below we’ve listed and explained each of the five different types of discipline strategy.

  • Boundary based discipline – This is the first of the five main types of discipline. The idea behind boundary based discipline is quite simple. It’s all about the fact that children behave well when they feel safe and secure. So, this type of parenting establishes boundaries and limits that show your kid what they’re allowed to do and what is crossing that boundary.
  • Positive Discipline – This may sound a bit strange as discipline tends to have a negative air surrounding it. But believe it or not, discipline can be positive and can be a big part of childhood discipline. This type of discipline is often used in schools and it focuses on the good parts of a child’s behavior. This idea also echoes the quote we talked about at the beginning and the idea that there are only good and bad behaviors rather than bad children.
  • Behavior modification – This idea is pretty self explanatory so we don’t need to go into too much detail. But, behavioral modification is a way of trying to change negative behavior by using negative or positive reinforcement.
  • Gentle Discipline – The idea of gentle discipline is about teaching your kiddo the appropriate behavior. It teaches your kid how to express their emotions in a way that is appropriate socially. It also helps your kid to make decisions in a healthy way and to do that on their own. This type of discipline also focuses on not using punishment, hence why it’s called gentle discipline. It’s also very similar to positive discipline and these parents don’t spank their kids or actively try to constantly punish their kid.
  • Emotional Coaching – You can probably guess the idea behind emotional coaching by just considering the word emotional. But, emotional coaching looks at children’s feelings and how as a parent, you have to tune in to them. This helps your kid to learn how to cope with more negative feelings like anger, sadness, or fear. It also helps your kids to understand the different types of feelings they may be having and how to cope with them. What’s the way to do this? Well, you need to listen to them about their feelings and comfort them to help them and you to both understand their feelings and themselves.

Best Way To Discipline A Child

There are many ways to discipline a child and it will depend on your preferences but, some work better than others. So what’s the best way to discipline a child? Let’s take a look at some techniques so you can choose the best one for you. No matter if you’ve got a teen or a toddler, positive discipline for toddlers works on them all.

  • Show and tell – Using the show and tell technique teaches your kids the difference between right and wrong. You’ll use calm words and actions to do this. It’s also quite hard but you’ll want to model the behavior you expect from your children to them by doing it yourself.
  • Listen to your kid – Often it’s really easy to raise your voice at your child and discipline them without actually hearing what they have to say about their side of the story. This could leave them feeling quite lonely and irrelevant. So before you discipline them, take a second to hear what they have to say and show them that you do really care about them – that’s why you’re listening. It could also help you find a pattern in your kid’s behavior like when they’re feeling jealous, they may act in a certain way.
  • Set limits – If your rules are constant and you have constantly set limits then your kid will be a lot more aware of the boundaries that you have as a parent and then a family. Make sure you also explain these limits to them so they fully understand. To do this you’ll want to speak to them at an age appropriate tone so they completely understand what’s going on.
  • Redirect any bad behavior – Believe it or not, a lot of kids tend to play up when they’re bored or tired and so if this is the case for your little one then redirect this bad behavior by encouraging them to do something else like reading, coloring or playing a game.
  • Time out – Time outs are very useful things and if you establish time out every time a certain rule is broken then it’s a good form of discipline. If you warn your kid they’ll get a time out if they don’t stop, it could help them establish what rule they broke and gives them time to think about what they’ve done. They’re also less likely to get worked up over it because they’ve been taken out of the situation. We’d recommend a minute for every year your kid is – for example, if they’re three you can give them three minutes. As they get older, they’ll be able to feel more in control after a minute away from the situation and so they may take less time to gather themselves.

Discipline Techniques – 3 easy things to remember

There are lots of discipline techniques out there that will help your child grow and start on the right path in life, some of which we’ve touched on already. Many techniques out there like spanking, are not going to bring you the results that you would hope for and are certainly not recommended when disciplining your child. But here are three steps to help you get the desired outcome.

  • Using calm consequences – This may sound a bit silly but using calm consequences is a brilliant technique to discipline your child. As kids, a lot of us knew that if you did something, something would happen as a result of that and that’s a part of life and growing up. So stating what the consequence is for your child if they continue with a certain behavior – this is the warning. If they carry on then calmly follow through with the consequence you originally stated. Don’t raise your voice and don’t show anger. Then, if they do end up stopping that particular behavior then make sure to give them lots of praise so they realize how good they’ve been by doing that. Remember that consistency is key and so you’ll want to keep this in mind and be realistic.
  • Setting clear expectations – Make sure you try to tell your kid what to do rather than what not to do. So being clear and intentional with your expectations helps your kid to understand a little more. Make sure these expectations are realistic too. You can’t really expect your kid to be quiet for a whole day but a more realistic expectation would be ten minutes of quiet time so you can do a bit of work.
  • Praising the positives – It’s definitely very easy to always focus on your kid’s bad behavior and call it out constantly. But, did you realize that this is actually showing your kid that this is how they get your attention? So, your kid may misbehave a little more because they know that is the only way to grab you. It’s a known fact that children love to be praised as it makes them feel special. So keep an eye out for when your kid does something good and call them out on it. It’ll encourage better behavior and they’ll realize that they don’t have to be naughty to get your attention.

Discipline or Punishment

Remember to praise the positives, set clear expectations and use calm consequences so your kid knows when they’re crossing the line and what the consequences will be. Parenting isn’t easy but discipline doesn’t have to be difficult. Remember to stay calm and collected.

If you’re confused as to how to discipline your kid then we’ve got you covered. It takes time and a whole lot of patience but once you’ve got it down and you’re used to it then it comes with a bit more ease.

About Emma Davies

Emma Davies is a freelance writer that specializes parenting and animal topics. With over 20 years experience as a parent there are very few topics that faze her.

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