So you’ve tried every discipline style in the books and still, nothing seems to work. You’re in a bit of a panic, as the handwriting is boldly written on the wall that you’d better get a hold on this discipline issue or face the unpleasant consequences of lawlessness in your own home, both now and in the future. All isn’t lost. Do sit still for a bit and ask yourself some of the cogent questions below, you’re bound to come right back on track:
1. Are You Expecting Too Much?
You may be expecting too much if you’re not putting into consideration certain developmental characteristics that come with different age groups, for example, toddlers just love to say “no” and test their boundaries. Teenagers also, like to express defiance now and then, in the name of self expression, all on the journey into making meaning out of the world and discovering themselves. Knowing if your expectations are age-appropriate and realistic before setting them gives you a more informed perspective when dealing with your kids, and modifying your strategies. You will also decipher when a certain behaviour is way over the top, requiring urgent attention, and when it should be ignored.
2. Are You Obeying Your Own Rules?
Think “leadership by example.” If you aren’t mirroring the behaviour you’re expecting, then your discipline strategy, however “out of this world” it may be, will always be counterproductive. So, let “charity begin at home”, with you first. Do “clean house” with your own self, attitudes and behaviours, and you will see your kids start to mirror your positive behaviour, so back to you. For instance, it is said that parents of children who love to read, are known to love books and read a lot.
3. Is Your Technique Full Of Negative Consequences?
Kids will associate a required behaviour with negative outcomes if discussion about that particular behaviour always leads to some negative occurrence. Take for instance, a child who’s trying hard to conform to a certain expected behaviour, but somehow, his best just doesn’t seem to be good enough, resulting all the time in spanking. Such child is most likely to give up on trying. It then becomes necessary to vary your consequences by incorporating positive consequences for good behaviour and even for trying, rather than negatives, all the time.
4. Are You Putting Your Child’s Personality Into Consideration?
One of the yardsticks for great parenting is the ability to modify your techniques to suit your children’s different personalities. Look closely, you will notice that a discipline technique you use most effectively for an outgoing child for instance may be immensely ineffective when dealing with an introverted child. The onus then lies on you, to find a style that works. Examine the compatibility of your style with the personality of the child in question. We all as parents could do with some creativity.
5. What Is Your Personality?
Perhaps your own personality is getting in the way of your good reason. Are you hindering your child’s expression of a certain positive natural gift, just because it doesn’t suit your own personality? Perhaps you don’t even understand it? Funny how a child can inherit genes and characteristics from great, great, grandparents; genes that have long been dormant! So you think you and your husband are introverts and your child must conform? So where did he get off acting all extroverted? So sometimes, you just have to let the sleeping dog lie, and about that talent? Let it bud.
...to be continued.