Now as I’ve mentioned many times before, I myself do not have any children of my own. However, I have had to discipline my fair share of kiddies over the past few years and let me tell you something, it is down…right…DRAINING! First of all, you do not want to discipline a child. It makes you feel bad, them feel bad, and it could possibly ruin a great part of the day. First, I want to talk a little bit about why discipline is necessary. Then, I’d like to touch what I would constitute as fair discipline (what is allowed, what isn’t allowed, etc).
In my opinion, discipline is very necessary. Give them an inch, they take a mile. It is NORMAL. Do you remember when you were a kid? Most people don’t. I have a memory like an elephant (so they say). I can actually remember what my house in Florida looked like when I was just 2 years old. I can remember what my great grandmother’s apartment smelled like, as well as her meatballs; correction, World’s BEST Meatballs! Anyway, you get the gist. Being a child was rough. I think it was more confusing than adulthood is (for me at least). I’d much rather be an adult than a child. Nonetheless, kids require attention (yes even the older ones). So why do kids act up? Typically, yes, it will be for the purpose of obtaining attention of some sort. The way to handle these children is to try and IGNORE the bad behavior and focus on the good.
By giving a child attention for something they do that is negative, you are reinforcing that negative behavior. They are now associating it with attention. “If I pour milk on Johnny’s head, then I will be the center of the show again today!” or whatever the case may be. Sounds silly I know, but I do believe this to be true. Like I said, try focusing on POSITIVE behavior. Go with the saying, positive behavior receives positive attention, negative behavior gets nothing at all. I’m not saying not to scold a child or put them in time-out if you have to, but if that doesn’t work the first time then chances are, they are trying to get a rise out of you. Have control and do not allow this to happen.
Another reason why children act up is to reinstate the control in which they have over either you, or their parents. In my book, these are called the BAD children. Why are they bad you ask? Because their parents allow themselves to be walked all-over. Sounds harsh, but it’s the truth! Quite frankly, times have changed. When I was a kid (and we are not talking about the 60’s and 70’s here, for I am quite young), my parents never let me get away with anything. They never hit. But I always listened. If I did not listen, I did not get what I wanted. If I did not do my homework, I did not get to play outside. If I bothered my little brother, I did not get to go to the skating rink. One time, I talked back. I said something bad. Do you know what happened? My television was removed from my room for the entire summer. Gosh, I loved T.V. Do you know what it’s like to have a MTV-watching, 13-year-old’s television taken away from her? It was pure torture. But I did something wrong, and my parents stuck to their guns. Now that I am an adult and I can look back on it, I admire them for it. They did not give in to many things when it came to raising me and I must say, what they got out of it was a pretty hard-working, humble woman with a good head on her shoulders (if I do say so myself).
Ok, so enough about me. The reason why I said that times are changing is because I feel that this generation of children (especially the VERY young ones) are the dictators of American households. Many Moms and Dads in this country give their children wayyy too many options in life. If your child is 4 years old, there should not be a 15-minute debacle as to what they want to eat for dinner. Your home is not a restaurant and your child should not have control over a situation such as this. I am getting to my point now. If you give your child control in those situations, then the very second that you take that control away, if the child is bold enough, they will FLIP on you.
We can sit here and talk for days about what is the correct way to discipline a child. I have two rules:
1.) Stick to your guns
2.) Never, ever, hit.
Seriously, what kind of sick, twisted monster hits their child nowadays? It’s 2012 people, not 1845! If you hit your child whenever you get angry then chances are, they will go to school and hit others when they are angry too. I heard on the news (now I’ve got to find this article) that people who have patience with children are able to control a specific part of their brain that many other people cannot. I believe ANYONE can have patience. The key to having patience is not losing control. Don’t get caught up in the moment and let your emotions take the best of you. If you can achieve this, then you have won the most important battle when it comes to raising kids and that’s conquering yourself as a parent.
Please do not mistake my advice as too over-the-top or presumptuous. It’s just that I’ve seen it too many times. In all reality, it does make me cringe. Please remember that you are the parent. You are the boss. Your child is not old enough to make sound and or orthodox decisions in life. That’s why you are there; to guide your little one on this terrific journey. Trust me, there will be plenty of time for you to step back and allow them to make their own choices–and that comes much, much later. For now, let them be kids, let yourself be a Mommy or Daddy, and ENJOY it while it lasts!
P.S. I am giving this advice to parents because you have the most influence on your child. Nannies are forced to discipline at times, so the same rules apply for us as well!
Photo Courtesy of punishmentforchildren.com