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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Effective Discipline Techniques that Actually Work for Your Children - Part I

By Andrew Loh

Children, when they are young, are immature, feel helpless and do not possess the power of reasoning. Without the help of parents, they can never survive this world. Hence, the main duty of parents is to help and love them to become responsible adults who can survive the rigors of this world. Success comes in many forms. Behaving in a responsible manner is one of the most important factors that can either make or break a person's life. Good behavior and discipline have many things in common. For example, good behavior among children can only come though discipline while ill mannerism could be due to bad discipline.

Discipline is very important for both children and parents. Well disciplined children could be cynosure of all eyes. In a general term, discipline means teaching and training to imbibe good mannerism. Controlling self, setting good standards for themselves and accomplishing goals through a pleasing mannerism are some of the important skills that a child can develop. In essence, discipline is to cut a rough diamond into a well polished stone that radiates brilliance and fineness.

Parents might use different ways to discipline their children and make them behave properly in public. However, they should actually work in practice and they should help children transform their character to the best. Three of the often used but negative approaches of disciplining a child are employing force, and punishing while the other is instilling a sense of fear. All these three methods are counter-productive and they can easily over power the child to make him or her negative, inferior and defying. These approaches may also end up in creating children who are sad, depressed, disappointed and frustrated.

If these methods are not good enough for parents, what can they choose? In fact, there are other ways to chose! They are safer, assured and result oriented although one might need more time to see the actual result. This method works on the following principles:

  • That children are very good in their innermost nature.

  • That honest to their inner core.

  • That they are natural and can learn whatever they are taught.

  • That they are capable identifying good from the bad.

  • That they are actually concerned about their persona as their parents are.

This method works on the basic principle of giving respect to children and expecting the same from them. In fact, parents may need to consider them as good as they are. Parents may use this technique that involves the concept of “give and take respect”.

This article deals with proven discipline techniques that actually work for your children. A parent should have a working goal to train their children to behave in public and show enough discipline that sets them apart from others who are disciplined. Here is some of the working and proven strategies:

Following natural consequences

One of the best methods to teach how to behave is to let children experience the consequence if they not behave well. For example, if one of the children keeps throwing that bar chocolate, make sure that your cut down on her supplies of bars. Ask him or her to skip her share for a day or two. Similarly, if one of your children keeps breaking toys, withdraw the pleasure of enjoying with the toys for a day or two. This approach might teach them not to throw bars or break toys and that the consequences for their misbehavior could be very risky and disadvantageous. Result: Children learn best that avoiding the negative consequence is the only way. They also learn that misbehavior always come with a consequent price that could be very harsh.

Following logical consequences

This is almost similar to the earlier method. Here, parents may need to tell their children that they would lose their privilege of enjoying bars or playing with toys for a week. However, you should mean what you say and follow it with strict action. Be firm and never ever yell at an instance of misbehavior.

Withdrawing privileges and freedom

It is a sort of tit-for-tat method! If your children are not cooperating or if they are defying your orders, then they may need to give something back for their misbehavior. It could be an object or a privilege such as toys or cookies. In other words, it should be something that your children value very much. This method works very well for young children in the age group of 5-7 years. However, do not snatch their necessary needs like meals, breakfast and classroom objects.

Taking time-out to initiate good behavior

This approach works well for children who are within the age group of 3 to 5 years. It also works very well when children break already specified rules of the house. To make this technique work, parents may need to finalize two or three specific behaviors that force you to initiate a session of time-out. Parents may need to explain the rules of the game before hand. They may need to repeat this procedure many times to make it sink in the minds of the children. Now, choose a secluded spot without any external distractions. Make sure that the moment for time out is to allow the children to relax and cool off. This approach will allow them to recuperate their thoughts and start to think that misbehavior is counter-productive for their future.

Two or three instances of misbehavior will attract time-our punishment. Before starting the session, parents may need to tell their children the reason for time-out. They may need to display any emotions as it will send a wrong signal. They may also like to avoid listening to children's plea to stop the punishment. In fact, there should be enough silence during time-out so that the children will have enough time to reflect on their misbehavior. Time-our durations might vary from a minute to about one hour depending on the age of the children. Soon after the time out session, ask children to resume their normal activities and do not talk about the session. Children should understand and acknowledge that misbehavior will result in time-out punishment.

The next article in this series Effective Discipline Techniques that Actually Work for Your Children - Part II would provide additional tips to make disciplining more effective and productive.


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