Friday, October 12, 2012

Positive Behavior - Loving Discipline

As children grow up one way they learn about their world is by challenging limits and boundaries.  These limits and boundaries not only provide a sense of order to their world (and ours) it provides a sense of security. We all do better when we know what is expected of us.  Sometimes, it just seems easier to give in and let them have their way.  When we do that we are giving them mixed messages which is confusing and frustrating.
Discipline works best when parents and teachers provide children with a balance of love, respect, clearly defined rules, and understanding.  Here are some secrets of effective discipline:
Make the rules clear
Talk about family rules, explaining the consequences clearly.  For example, for a rule such as "Take care of belongings," you might tell them if they leave their legos out, they don't get to play with them the next day.  As your youngsters learn to read, write down the rules and put them on the refrigerator as a reminder. 
Tip:  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 child to "test" the rules from time to time.  When they do, gently stand your ground and apply the set consequences.  Being firm and consistent lets them know that you mean business and provides a sense of  security instead of uncertainty.  The more you give in the more they will test because it works. 
Give positive feedback
Try to focus more on what your child does right than on what they do wrong.  This will encourage them to try even harder to behave.  Also, always state more of what you want instead of what you don't want.
Example: "Please clean up your legos now" instead of "Don't leave your legos all over the floor."  This is clear and to the point. When you see behavior you would like repeated, let them know.
Example:  "Thanks for putting your dirty clothes in the hamper."