Let’s talk about discipline. Yes I said it, and I am aware this is a sensitive topic. It’s almost like politics and religion. Bring up discipline in a room full of people and someone is likely to get offended, and maybe even violent in today’s world. I mean no one wants to be that parent whose kid is out of control in the supermarket or some other public place. But many have been and some more than once. So I am going to tread this topic lightly…NOT!
I am no expert, I only have one daughter, and I have never conducted a study over a period of time. However, I do work with children every day and have done so for several years now so I have picked up a few things along the way. Unfortunately, what I have picked up is there is no one way to discipline a child, but they all crave it, so here are the 3 discipline methods that have worked for me.
Yes, children love to run wild and have fun and do whatever they want, but in the same breath they also want to follow a routine. Children are happier, less cranky, and less likely to act out when they know what to expect and feel as though they have some control over their little lives.
Although the children that I work with have no concept of it being 8:00 am or 10:00 am, they are happy when they can rely on routine. Once they get to school, they know they will eat, get cleaned up, dance, and have circle time IN THAT ORDER. They are content knowing what comes next. If I throw in something out of the norm, the children will be thrown completely off schedule , and I would have to start doing back flips to bring them back. Needless to say, I go home BEAT at the end of the day!
My daughter lives her life on a schedule because I do and if I try to deviate she will quickly bring me back. If we are out after 8:00 pm she will say, “Mommy I’m dirty.” In other words, she is ready for her bath. When she wakes up she uses the potty and is ready for breakfast with no if, and, or buts. I think establishing these sorts of routines will help her easily deal with homework and chores when she gets older without me having to struggle with her as much.
2. Body Language
I have had people to tell me that my daughter appears to be very disciplined. However, she is like any other child: she has her moments and she will try falling out or tell me no IF I let her. The key to minimize madness is to not let her get away with it even ONCE.
Children are similar to adults in that they like their own space. I know I need my 3 feet of elbow room. If an adult gets too close, I get defensive. So, when my daughter is acting out, I find that when I violate her personal space, get down on her level and look into those cute little eyes and say “NO” in The Mom Voice or “Let’s make another choice” or heck whatever I say when I’m that close it works. I mean if I even sense that she may be tempted to get upset or rebel I turn on that voice before she turns on her tantrum and I win. The voice is not loud or obscene, but it is no-nonsense.
Let’s say you have done #1 and #2 and frankly it’s just not working today. Well, that’s when we have a problem! Again, children are little people and they love their vices just like adults do. Toys, games, books, videos, fruit snacks — whatever it is your child probably has a vice. And if you have a routine then your child has a certain time throughout the day when he or she wants to indulge in each vice. For example, my daughter loves to use the iPad while eating her fruit snacks and watching Caillou, all before story time and lights out EVERY NIGHT. However, if she has to be disciplined because “The Mom Voice” did not work this time, all of her fun is snatched away. Because she is a creature of habit, removing her toys is torture in itself and works almost every time.
These are just some of the methods that work for me. I know a lot of people who use timeout and I found that never worked for me so I tossed it long ago. All children are different and sometimes you have to get creative with your child. The bottom line is they all want and need discipline. Whether you use corporal punishment or fear of the Lord, discipline helps to keep your child safe and help them function long-term throughout their lives into adulthood.
What are some methods you use when your child has a bad day or a tantrum?