5 Common Discipline Mistakes You Should Stop Making Now

Dolapo Marinho

Let’s face it, parenting is hard work. Unless you have a fairy godmother or an entourage of staff helpers, being a parent can drive you to the end of your tether. The issue of discipline is one that polarises many households. What methods work best? Old school or modern? Whatever category you fall into, you will still come up against a catalogue of  mistakes. Here are a few of the most common discipline errors parents make with their children.

1. Not Following Through

Kids are smart. Slip up once and they’re on to you in a flash. Parents often threaten repercussions without really thinking about how they will follow through on their threat. “If you don’t pass your exams, you won’t go on holiday in the summer!” Massive threat. Exams don’t get passed, summer arrives and you all still get to go on the long drive to Kogi. Beware of making empty threats. As soon as you begin to follow through on your ultimatums, you will start to reap the rewards of effective discipline.

READ ALSO: Punishment & Discipline: Learn the Difference

2. Too Many ‘Don’ts’

Walk into any situation where parents and kids are involved and listen to all the orders being barked out. Don’t run! Don’t push your brother! Don’t you know how to greet? Don’t throw your towel on the ground! Don’t kick the ball against the wall! Don’t pick your nose! Don’t play with your food! Don’t shout! Don’t! Don’t!! DON’T!!!

As much as we want well behaved children, especially in public, we have to understand that children require explanations. Parents say don’t or no so often that children become deaf to it and carry on doing what they have been asked not to do! Change the emphasis of the language you use and adopt a more positive approach. For example say, “running round the pool is dangerous because you might fall and hurt yourself.” Mark my words, your child will think twice about it the next time he feels the urge to run round the pool because he now understands the reason for caution.

READ ALSO: Can’t Help Yelling At Your Child? Learn 8 Ways To Stay in Control

3. Too High Standards

In Nigerian society, especially, we seem to hold children to higher standards than we hold ourselves. We expect them to pass every exam, maintain perfect environments, win every competition and be on every honour roll. We expect them to understand societal norms, proffer appropriate greetings, never talk back and absolutely NEVER interrupt a speaking adult! Those are a whole load of rules for anyone to adhere to, talk less of a child!
As parents, we need to understand that children are children. They are not finished products and can unwittingly make errors or commit faux-pas. So, lighten up! Not every transgression requires punishment. Learn to pick up and focus on really bad or disruptive behaviour. It doesn’t mean you should not correct, it is the manner in which you correct that should be changed.

READ ALSO: 8 Bad Habits Of Yours Affecting Your Kids Negatively

4. Lack of a United Front

Unite to conquer! My children always say, “You and daddy have each other’s back!” Usually at the point when I have told them off about something, they have gone to him for sympathy and he has agreed with me! I cannot overemphasise the importance of a united front, when it comes to children and discipline. Mummy cannot scold only for daddy to coddle. Both parents have to be on the same page when it comes to enforcing whatever consequence your child must face. Even if parents are in disagreement about the method of punishment, they cannot show that to the children, otherwise they will start playing you off against each other!

5. Lack of Consistency

Like most things in life, results are gained from being consistent. Disciplining your children is no different. You have to lay out the parameters and then consistently stick to them! If you scold your child about not saying thank you when receiving something, ignore his silence the next few times and then scold again when you feel like it, you will be sending mixed signals. Your child will not understand what he is doing wrong because you have not been consistent in enforcing your own rules!
Make sure that your rules are clear and when they are broken ensure that your child corrects his behaviour immediately.

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“5 Common Discipline Mistakes You Should Stop Making Now”
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