As our littles grow, develop, and learn they are going to make mistakes. As parents we are learning, growing, and making mistakes. It is important to be patient with yourself and your child. Parenting is tough. Being a kiddo is tough. It is important you and your child know that you are not alone. As parents, one of our roles is to teach our children how to behave. As you study discipline techniques and principles, recognize how you can guide your child to learn problem-solving skills, impulse control, healthy coping mechanisms, self-regulation, and healthy self-expression. I believe the best formula for helping teach and correct your child’s behavior is to lead, guide, and walk beside.
- First, strive to LEAD your child with consistency and clarity. Consistency is vital. This teaches your child what to expect, minimizes resistance, and creates patterns for success. Be consistent in your efforts. Do not make promises you cannot keep. Do not threaten punishments you are not willing to follow through with. These practices compromise your consistency. Learn to consistently offer only one command/request at a time. Consistently reward or correct swiftly. If you wait more than 5 minutes, they will not know why. As you strive to practice consistency in your daily family routine, you help your child know what is expected and what is coming next. This helps reduce resistance, battles, and poor behavior associated with daily tasks. In addition, clarity is essential. As you set limits and boundaries, have clear and consistent rules that your child can follow. Set clear expectations of how they are to behave ahead of time. Be sure to explain expectations with an age-appropriate approach so that your child can clearly understand. Clear expectations promote successful outcomes. Remember to lead with consistency and clarity.
- Second, GUIDE your child to learn. A guide shows others the way. As you model appropriate behaviors, you set a clear example for your child. Strive to teach your kiddos right from wrong with calm words, actions, and modeled behavior.
- Third, WALK BESIDE your child with love. Good behaviors become more natural as your child feels secure in knowing what is expected and having the opportunity to practice. Think about what it means to walk beside your child. How can you help someone as you walk beside them versus pulling them forward or pushing them from behind? How would you respond in each of these scenarios? As you walk beside your child both literally and figuratively, you have the opportunity to validate, empathize, bond, seek for teaching opportunities, and teach with love. Research indicates that your child will learn better in a calm, fun, or exciting environment. If we are only teaching appropriate behavior as our child is misbehaving, we will be met with greater resistance and defeat. As we walk beside our child, we can gain a greater understanding from their perspective. In addition, as we focus on love, positive praise, and attention, we reinforce good behaviors and discourage negative ones. The most powerful tool for effective discipline is attention. As you walk beside your little one, focus your attention on the positive.