For some people regarding discipline and their children, it feels like they just wake up one day and things are out of control, but that is usually not the case. There is a process involved that leads us to that point, and we get there much more quickly than we care to admit.
Our children live to test us They began doing so almost at birth: ‘if I cry long enough will I get what I want’, ‘if I say “pleeeeease” just a few dozen more times will they break?’. It is our job as parents to be consistent. Each and every time we cave, we lose just a little bit more of our status as the one in the position of authority.
Children need boundaries in order to feel secure in life. They are not yet mentally, emotionally or physically capable of making many of the major decisions in their lives. They need us to be there for them to help guide and mold them into becoming respectful adults. It is imperative that we start exercising our parental roles at the youngest age possible. If we do not, there will be a lack of respect, not only for us, but for others in positions of authority.
I believe the most common mistake that we make as parents is to use idle threats. We threaten our children on a regular basis in an attempt to “scare” them into complying. It usually goes something like this … “if you do that one more time, I am going to …” And then when they do it again, we do nothing. We are always threatening to punish, ground, restrict, etc.
But how often do we follow through? In order for our children to take us seriously and believe in what we say, we must be consistent. If we make threats all of the time and never honor them, our children will just learn to ignore us.
You probably can’t even count the number of times you have threatened your children with various punishments, never following though on any of them. How often have you said, “If you do that one more time, I’m going to ground you! If you don’t stop that this instant, I will take it away!” It is no wonder we can’t seem to get any respect from them. You may need to make changes immediately.
Here are some good guidelines to follow: if you feel the activity is severe enough to merit a punishment then make sure to follow through with it every time! If you done honestly think it is major enough to cause disruption … keep your mouth shut! No more idle threats! It may be a bit difficult at first. They will probably make it a point to test you to see if you are serious or not.
But after you proceed with the needed groundings and or time outs, they will realize that your words are your bond. If you say something … mean it! It will not be long at all until you have regained control of your home. It will be a much more pleasant place for all of you. You will no longer feel as though you’re being taken for granted and your children will feel secure in the fact that they have a parent who can always be counted on to keep their word.
All children are different and you may need to experiment to see what type of correction is right for your child. Some children may require a grounding, while others may respond to simply a firm talking to. You can try methods such as reduced television time, no company, extra chores or the loss of a certain privilege.
If behavioral problems continue, you may need to examine the situation more closely. Perhaps there is something bothering your child. An unresolved issue in their life? Try sitting down and talking with them. Have there been any changes in your home recently that may upset or confuse them? Sometimes children will react in an adverse way when they are troubled and aren’t sure how to express their feelings.
Make sure to rule out this possibility before you overreact. Some situations may even require the help of a professional. Whatever the case may be, make sure that your children know that you love them and that you have their best interest in mind.Make sure to rule