Feb 22, 2012

How to instil discipline in your child

There is no set time for disciplining a child and some children are so well-behaved that they hardly get disciplined. Really, though, discipline starts when the child acts out of the norm, throws a tantrum, shouts back at you, and you have to take control or the child will think that he can manipulate you for whatever he wants. There is a difference between that kind of discipline and discipline where you just correct behaviour by ‘showing’ and no harsh tone need be employed. Still, children know instinctively that there are rules and know when they are being chastised.

The child’s retreat

A child know when he has misbehaved, even as a two-year-old, and is old enough when his parent calls a time-out because he is shouting at the top of his lungs or throwing his things around. A time-out is a gentle way to calm down a recalcitrant toddler. He understands what is happening, and in time settles down in his room. His room is his sanctuary and it is a place where he can retreat to. This is his space. It is where he has his bath and is being changed. He also learns independence right from the start. 

Mistakes parents make disciplining a toddler

1                    A child sleeping in his own crib learns independence from the start. Sleeping with his parents will create problems later on when he can’t fall asleep without his mother or father in bed, or without the light on, or he is scared of ghosts. It leads to co-dependency. However, this does not mean that there are not special occasions to crowd into your parents’ bed. Bonding is important and should be exercised on a regular basis. 

2                    Do not change the rules once you have made them. If you call a time-out, don’t give in to his charm or screaming to let him sit with the other children in front of the television.

3                    If he does not listen to you, take him physically to his room. If he comes out, put him back. Just because he is screaming and throwing a tantrum does not mean you must give in. Toddlers can be manipulative.

4                    Don’t shout and scream yourself. They turn on the tears or suddenly become charming to get what they want. Speak nicely and let the child know who is in charge. 

5                    Do not bribe a child; he will hold you hostage. If you resort to bribery he will know that you are not a person with conviction and will sense that you are weak. Be loving and caring, but show him who is the boss.

Discipline with love

Once your infant has been fed and changed, put him back in the crib. He will soon fall asleep. Remember, teaching him right at the beginning of his life how to behave will go a long way towards his future. Play with your child; it is very important. Read to your child. Have a story hour before he goes to bed. Then put him in his room. 


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