Disciplining children doesn’t necessarily mean punishment. Rather it is to train or develop by instruction or exercise, according to Webster’s Dictionary definition. So many of us get it wrong and what results are bratty uncontrollable kids at times. Here are some common discipline mistakes assembled by the Montgomery County, Maryland Department of Health and Human Services and Child Welfare Services that I found helpful and I plucked my favorite to share:
- Demanding that children apologize. If a child is not sincere or does not know why he is apologizing, forcing him to apologize may not work.
- Giving in to tantrums or whining. It teaches that misbehaving to get what they want works.
- Trying to bribe or threaten children to get them to behave. Again, many of us do this when we need a child to hush up or when we need immediate acquiescence but again, a savvy kid will pick up on it and use this trick against parents.
- Comparing the misbehavior of one child to the appropriate behavior of another child. Doing this is the first step to diminishing a child’s self esteem and the future of them thinking they are not good enough.
- Making threats the adults will not carry out. Kids are smart. It’s just a matter of time before they realize your empty threats are just that – empty.
- Making promised the adult cannot keep. Besides setting yourself up for failure, you are also setting yourself up to get whined at for hours until you fulfill the promise. Not a good idea. No promises, if you can help it.
- Offering choices where none exist. Again, an adult is setting herself for a serious breakdown when a child learns that going to the zoo is not really an option to going to the dentist.
- Trying to shame or embarrass the child. Shaming also is one of the early steps to developing a child who has low self-esteem and feel devalued.
- Rewarding inappropriate behavior. Doing this teaches a child that there are no consequences for bad acts and it grows a child who may not have remorse for lying, cheating or doing other bad acts.
- Calling a child names. This is never a good idea especially not from a parent or caregiver.
Parenting is very tough and gets tougher each year and with each generation as various outside forces and technology compete with parents wishes for their kids. Hang in there and hang tough. The rewards are greater than the challenges.