Parents' discipline should help children learn what is acceptable and what isn't. You can't prevent all misbehavior, but there are strategies for providing adolescent help that avoids struggles and a test of wills.
First, provide your child with the rules -- the structure for daily decision-making. Let your children know what is expected of them. Those rules need to be reasonable and easy to understand. Try to see the world as your child does.
Rules should provide a safe and happy environment for the young child. They also must be realistic and allow for individual differences. When certain problems occur more than once, it's helpful to set a family rule. These will work better if kids know the consequences for breaking them ahead of time.
In addition, briefly explain to your kids why you make the rules you do. This will provide them with the logic behind the rules.
Always be consistent with the rules and provide logical consequences for infractions. Consequences, in proportion to the behavior and given as soon as possible after the incident, help your child connect the consequence with the behavior.
Logical consequences must relate to the offense. It aims to change the behavior through learning, relates to the misbehavior, and is delivered calmly and objectively.
For example, making amends is a very logical consequence. It's good to use as it helps kids learn to think of the needs and rights of other people. It teaches that misbehavior is something to be corrected.
The process of helping children to control and guide their own behavior is a long, slow process and can sometimes be discouraging. Good discipline involves sensitivity and empathy, and most of all helping children to understand mistakes are a natural part of growing up.
Kids really do need rules or limits and the security of knowing that someone whom they trust and love sets these rules. When rules are necessary, they should be clearly defined and consistently maintained in spite of our moods.
Here are some tips to guiding children:
Dawn Marie Barhyte is a former teacher and freelance writer, specializing in education and parenting articles.
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