This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Parenting is one of the most difficult tasks in the world. It takes up much of your energy and time, and there is no universal handbook or guidelines to follow. Even worse, the advice that you do find through experts or the internet is often conflicting or unhelpful, making the task even more stressful.
This is never more evident in the topic of disciplining your child. Almost everyone has an opinion about this topic, so there is no one straight answer. However, there are a few tried and true tips that discourage bad behavior healthily. Here are a few healthy options that may help you correct your children’s behavior.
Focus Specifically On The Behavior
The worst mistake a parent can make is to use language that shames a child rather than disciplines them. This occurs when the parent focuses more on making the child feel bad about their actions rather than attempting to reverse the behavior. Comments like “you’re bad” or “you’re so annoying” focus on shaming the child rather than changing the behavior. This can have devastating consequences that can affect their mental health well into adulthood.
Therefore, when you discipline your child, make sure to focus on the behavior. Instead of attacking their character, focus on the behavior that you wish to correct. Don’t try to insult your child or hurt their self-esteem. Your goal is to discourage bad behavior, not put your child to shame.
Encourage Good Behavior
It’s not enough to just discipline bad behavior; you need to encourage good behavior too. This way, your child knows exactly how to act instead of which behaviors to avoid. This can help them develop a long string of positive habits that they can take with them into adulthood.
To encourage good behavior, make sure to praise it whenever you notice it. As with the first tip, make sure you are praising the behavior and not the child. Furthermore, you can also reward them whenever they behave well, such as with snacks, video games, or toys.
Talk With Them About The Behavior
Sometimes having a long chat about the behavior can give you insight on how to stop it. In some cases, children just need to understand why they can’t do certain things in order to stop. Children don’t always see how their behavior affects others, so they may not always know they are doing something wrong. Furthermore, some children simply act out because they’re bored.
Discussing the behavior with them will help you get to the root of the problem. That way, you can find a better strategy to discourage the behavior and prevent it from occurring again. Sometimes, this talk is enough to correct the problem; other times, you may need to try some other tips. But at least you know why your child is acting out and have a better idea of how to address it.
Try A Time-Out
Time-outs are a classic form of discipline that can be quite effective. It gives you and your child time to cool off before discussing their misbehavior. When giving a time-out, try to remain as calm as possible and use a stern but calm voice to instruct them to the time-out spot.
Choose a spot where they won’t have any distractions or temptations. For example, their room may not be a good option because they can just continue playing with their toys, which doesn’t make for much of a punishment. Instead, designate a corner, chair, or another specific spot where they can think about their behavior without distraction.
Finally, make sure you give a time-out immediately (as opposed to hours later) and don’t let them stay there too long. Just give yourself a few minutes to calm down, and then end the time-out to discuss the behavior calmly.
Give Consequences And Stick With Them
Another common mistake parents make is warning children of the consequences of their behavior and then not going through with them. For example, they may threaten to take away toys or games but never actually do it. This teaches the child that there are no real consequences to their actions, so they continue to act out.
Therefore, if you state that there are consequences, you have to go through with them. It may not be fun or easy to discipline your child this way, but it is more effective than having no consequences. Without consequences to their behavior, the child will never behave better and will not respect your authority to discipline them in the future.
There is a lot of confusing and conflicting information when it comes to disciplining your children. However, the important takeaway is to remain calm and ensure you don’t attack your child’s character. Effective discipline discourages bad behavior while keeping your child’s mental and relationship with you intact.
Hopefully, these tips gave you a good idea of how to discipline your child positively. For more insight and resources on behavior, head on over to the link below: