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How to discipline a childLearning how to discipline a young child is possibly one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. However you’ll find the time and effort required to develop these skills worthwhile as it makes the role of parenting extremely rewarding. It’s also much better to take heed of this advice sooner than later; it’s much easier to get your children into good habits from the start than to re-program their behaviour when they’re older.

A key advantage of getting your disciplinary role as a parent to be more effective is that you’ll put yourself in a better position to be able to keep your children safer than they would otherwise be when they’re online as well as being safer in their physical world. The article that follows contains great tips on how to discipline a young child effectively.


Be Consistent 

It’s important to always be consistent when you discipline a child so he will know what is acceptable behaviour and what is not.  As with most aspects in life communication is the key. Your child must know that if he enters into behaviour that is likely to hurt someone or something, that is not acceptable at any time or place. You’ll find more invaluable information on determining when to discipline a child in four steps of positive parenting to learn child discipline.


How Often Should I Discipline My Child? 

It’s best to only discipline a child if they are doing something that is likely to hurt something or someone. Over-discipline (consistently telling off a child for almost everything he does) can lead to your child just tuning you out. I’m a firm believer that children should generally be allowed to make noise and be themselves when they’re at home. They should not be told off for engaging in normal, healthy age-appropriate behaviour (which may involve noise and playful sounds).


How To Understand And Empathise With Your Child

Bear in mind that a young child may become easily frustrated if they are unable to communicate in words how they are feeling or what exactly they want.  Younger children don’t yet have enough words in their vocabulary to explain exactly what or how they are feeling. This makes it important as a parent to:

1)    Try to understand your child – repeat what you think they are saying so they know you’re listening to them;

2)    Get down on their level – physically kneel down so you are face-to-face with them and look them in the eye; and

3)    Always remember that young children are emotional and not logical. Conversations filled with logic that make sense to you are often a waste of time discussing with your child.


Disciplining Young Children Can Be Difficult

Children can be difficult at times to say the least!  Most young children are impatient and don’t know how to share or take turns – and certainly don’t want to entertain these ideas! You need to have reasonable expectations when it comes to disciplining young children. After all, patience is a virtue you won’t often find in adults, let alone in a child.

You may find short “time-out” sessions effective if your child is refusing to share with others, providing they’re followed by a conversation after your child calms down that ensures he understands why he got in trouble, and also how he might avoid repeating the same behaviour if a similar situation arises again.


Always Lead By Example

An important factor to consider in your parenting style is to lead by example. Be careful what you say around your child, as although he may not yet have the language skills to repeat everything you say, rest assured he is listening carefully and may repeat things at a later date! If you are using swear words around your children, what sort of language do you expect them to use? Remember that your child is a little person who is like a sponge taking in everything around them. Don’t wait until they are talking to watch your language; children have a way of learning swear words very quickly!


How To Discipline A Child With Positive Reinforcement

Positive discipline and reinforcement is more effective than punishment when handling difficult or repetitive behavioural issues. It’s important to note there is a big difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline is about teaching your children how to behave. Punishment is more about making your child suffer or feel bad because they haven’t behaved well. Make sure that as a parent you continually recognise and praise good behaviour so that your child won’t have to engage in bad behaviour to get your attention.

It’s always better to ask your child to do something positive, rather than to tell them not to do something, i.e. you’ll have more success telling your child to “Leave that alone” than by telling them to “Stop touching that”. In other words tell your child using as few words as possible what you want them to do, not what you don’t want them to do.


Are All Children The Same?

Silly question I know. Particularly if you have more than one child, then as a parent you will soon realise that each child has different needs and expectations. More often when you have more than one child they are like chalk and cheese, it’s difficult to believe they have the same parents! Successful discipline techniques with one child may have no effect at all on another. This will include positive discipline with rewards as well as punishments.

Take Notes When Disciplining Children – Which Techniques Work?

A key to good parenting is to remember which approaches to child discipline you have tried that worked well, and which ones have not. The definition of insanity (as per Albert Einstein) is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.


How To Discipline A Child With Clear Boundaries

It is vital for any child to have clear rules and boundaries, and these must be set by you as the parent and communicated to your child. Every child will try to push the boundaries at times so you must be strong in enforcing them and being clear on what is OK and what is not. There should also be clearly communicated consequences that are understood by your child in advance if the rules you have set are broken.


Effective Punishments For Disciplining Young Children

When it comes to disciplining young children, each will respond differently to different punishments. If at any stage positive reinforcement is not enough, you will need to find out what kind of discipline will be enough to stop your child behaving in a certain way. Hopefully you will not need to enforce a punishment more than once or twice.


The Key To Disciplining A Child – Always Follow Through

When you threaten a consequence if your child continues with a type of unacceptable behaviour and the child continues with this behaviour, it is critical to follow through. Be sure that the consequence is something suitable that you are happy with and that has the desired affect. The best consequences are linked in some way with the offending behaviour, i.e. if your child has hit someone else who tried to take the I-Pad they were using off them, remove I-Pad access for the rest of the day.


We hope that these tips on how to discipline a child have given you some ideas that will help you face the ever-challenging task of disciplining young children.  This is a wonderful time in your life, and you now have more of the tools you need to be successful. Don’t be too hard on yourself, good parenting is often a matter of trial and error and no-one gets it right all of the time, just be sure to learn from your mistakes.

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