Parenting and DisciplineUse discipline wisely to teach your children not to punish them.
Discipline is the most important issue for parents. Many of you remember the kind of discipline you received in your childhood and don't want to repeat it with your children. Some of you may feel that the way you were raised is just fine and intend to do the same with your children or you have decided to do just the opposite. Basically all parents want some way to discipline their children that works. Unfortunately for many of you, the style of discipline you use either doesn't work or it makes your children's behavior worse, so you end up dealing with the same misbehavior over and over. You may be afraid to be too permissive or think 'good parents' must always be in charge and in control and/or you worry your children won't like you.
To better understand the pros and cons of the most typical styles of discipline, they can be divided into three of the most common approaches.
The Authoritarian or Super Strict Disciplinarian
This style of authoritative discipline assumes that children need to be controlled and given orders to ensure good behavior. Somewhere these parents got the notion that a child will be bad without a lot of rules and intervention. The authoritarian parent is strict, gives orders and expects them to be obeyed without question. They use a punishment and reward system to keep children within their acceptable limits of behavior. Often this approach seems to work especially when the children are young. What is often occurring underneath is that children are developing a real fear of their parents, they obey because they are afraid not to. This can encourage lying to get out of being yelled at or severely punished. It can impair their ability to learn to think things through and come up with good choices making them more susceptible to peer pressure.
Getting rewarded for good behavior sets a precedent for working hard to please others, thereby robbing the child of the personal satisfaction of a job well done.
As children get older, they can develop a resentment toward their parents and find ways to get even. Some will rebel as young children becoming defiant and angry others will rebel as they get older.
Vivian's new baby, Allie, is not sleeping well at night. When it is her nap time during the day she expects her older daughter, Mary, to be especially quiet and tells her she will reward her with a candy bar if she does not wake the baby.
When Allie is 2, mom has to make a very important phone call and tells Mary she must play with her sister while she is on the phone. As a reward she promises to take Mary and a friend out for ice cream.
Now Mary is 12 and Vivian tells her to stay with her sister for an hour while she runs an errand, Mary demands a new CD.
Mom has a style of giving orders without any respect for Mary. Consequently, her style of punishment and reward has taught Mary that the only reason to obey and cooperate is to get something in return.The Giving In or Permissive Disciplinarian
Parents who consistently give in to the demands of their children, set limits and then change them allow their children to grow up without guidelines. They give in to their children because they often fear their children won't like them and/or they do not want to deal with a negative response. Other people see these children as spoiled. They often do not get along well with their peers or in school because they are used to getting their way.
As they get older they make more and more demands on their parents who can find themselves stressed to the max trying to fulfill their children's wishes while ignoring their own needs.
Children lose respect for their parents who cannot take a stand on any issue. These children are often not pleasant to be around.
Vivian's new baby, Allie, is not sleeping well at night. When it is her nap time during the day she wants her older daughter, Mary, to be especially quiet. Mary wants to play her new drum that her aunt gave her and insists that she be allowed to. Vivian reluctantly says okay but asks her to play it softly. Ten minutes later Mary's pounding wakes Allie up and Vivian must spend an hour getting her back to sleep.
When Allie is 2, mom has to make a very important phone call and asks Mary to play with her sister while she is on the phone. Mary is reading and says Allie is too little to play with and she doesn't want to. Vivian sighs and asks a neighbor if she can bring both girls over while she makes the call.
Now Mary is 12 and Vivian asks her to stay with her sister for an hour while she runs an errand. Mary whines, and generally makes a scene, mom thoroughly frazzled, puts off her errand until she can leave Allie with her husband.
Mom cannot stand any confrontation or unhappiness from Mary. She has taught Mary that she can have her way in any situation. Mary has no sense of participating in the family or a connection to the importance of other people and their feelings. She has no limits on her behavior and treats her mother with little respect.
The Positive Discipline or Democratic Disciplinarian
This discipline style recognizes that children are equal to their parents. Not in sameness of intellect or experience but in their value as a human being. Children should be treated with respect and parents balance their freedom with responsibilities. This is accomplished by setting limits, providing choices within those limits, employing kind but firm discipline and focusing on solutions not punishment and rewards.
Children who are encouraged to make decisions learn their choices count. They can make mistakes and learn from them. These children have a sense of control and power in their lives and are responsible for their actions. Our online parenting classes are based on the Positive Discipline books by Jane Nelsen, Ed.D., which promotes this democratic, respectful and practical parenting style.
Vivian's new baby, Allie, is not sleeping well at night. When it is her nap time during the day she wants her older daughter, Mary, to be especially quiet. She gives Mary a choice between reading a book or watching one of her favorite videos with the sound turned down low. Mary thinks for a moment and picks reading a book that she selects.
When Allie is 2, mom has to make a very important phone call and asks Mary to play with her sister while she is on the phone. She asked Mary if she wants to keep Allie occupied now or in a half an hour. Mary is reading and says she will play with Allie in a half an hour. Mom sets the timer.
Now Mary is 12 and Vivian asks her to stay with her sister for an hour while mom runs an errand, Mary agrees but tells mom she has a friend coming over to study. Mom agrees to be back in time for Mary's study date.
Mom and Mary have a respectful relationship that has evolved over time. Mom asks Mary for her help but gives her limited choices that lets her feel in charge. As Mary gets older, Mother shows respect for Mary's commitments as well.
Implementing a style of discipline that can eliminate conflict, spanking and grounding and replace it with cooperation and respect is a worthy and achievable goal. Taking an online parenting class based on these principles can start you on the way to a better relationship with your children.