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WHAT NOW? My discipline techniques are not working!

Discipline (according to the Oxford dictionary) is defined as the training of people to obey rules or a code of behaviour.

Herein lies the controversy as each person has a different upbringing and understanding of the discipline.

This has a huge effect on how a parent will choose to discipline one’s child.

As parents, we try, with the best intentions, to give and do the utmost for our children.

When it comes to discipline, however, we need to realise that some discipline strategies can make a child’s behaviour problems worse.

These strategies are, yelling, nagging, repeated threats with no follow-through, lectures, shaming, unrelated consequences, and severe punishment.

The reason for using these forms of discipline is usually the tradition, i.e., if they worked for my parents and for my siblings and me, it will work for my children too.

If, however, your way of tackling discipline is not having any effect on your child, perhaps a few simple tweaks to your present discipline techniques will impact your child’s behaviour.

Firstly, remember that even when you were a child, you occasionally ignored rules and had an “I do not care” attitude towards consequences?

Tackling discipline in a slightly new way could produce different results. Reassess your stance and use the following discipline techniques:

• Are you and your partner in agreement with the consequences of inappropriate behaviour?

• Are your consequences clearly defined? i.e., the type of consequence for the offence and how long the consequence will take effect. Do not back down and keep changing the perimeters.

• Are your discipline consequences neutral, emphasising the connection between your child’s behaviour and the consequence and not humiliating and shaming the child?

• Are your consequences administered immediately?

• Are your discipline and consequences age-appropriate?

• Are you teaching your child how to make better choices by using logical consequences? For example, if the child chooses not to study, then not only will they get a poor grade, but they will also lose some privileges.

• Do you take the time to spend positive time with your child, interacting and getting to understand and know your child’s world? (Cell phones packed away!)

• Words matter, so try to deal with the offence when you calm down, as, in the heat of the moment, even the best of parents can say or do something mean. Slow down and find out what really occurred before taking away privileges.

• Consequences may become less effective if used too often, so occasionally reassess the consequences with your child and then “switch them up.”

Exploring new strategies could encourage a positive outcome to the never-ending cycle of tension caused by the clashing of wills, leading to conflict between parents and children.

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