Mistake-Free Discipline?

We’re the parents, we’re supposed to know everything, right? I don’t know about you but raising and disciplining 3 children daily is a tough road to navigate without making mistakes. Which is probably why I make so many.

It seems like every day, at some point I cringe at the way I handle a situation with my kids. Whether I’m too negative, expect too much or intervene in their squabble simply because I’m tired of listening to it, I mess up. A lot. Everyday.

Here are some ideas to think about, if you need to right the discipline ship in your home.

Expecting too much? Young Children haven’t yet developed impulse control or the social etiquette to handle themselves in the candy aisle at the grocery store, or public places in general. Take a breathe and remind yourself, they aren’t trying to push you over the edge, they really just don’t know any better. Gently remind them and give them an example of the appropriate way to ask for or handle the specific situation.

Time Out Not Working? If you’re using time out as a way to calm your child down and it’s having the opposite effect, try sitting with your child to get them to calm down. Once they are calm explain to them why their behavior was not ok. Many children will see a time out as a form of rejection, which will only cause them to act out more. Always remember, it’s ok to put yourself in time out, too.

Not Following Through? How many times have you had to count to get your child to respond? This is a toughy in our house, and we’ll catch ourselves doing it only to realize that we shouldn’t have to count. We said do it, so they should hop to it. Same thing with giving multiple chances. Once you make a rule, you stick to it and follow through. Anything less will give your child the impression that negotiation is ok or that their cooperation is optional. Remember to be respectful and clear with your directives and praise and thank them when they follow through.

Letting Them Work It Out: I’m not a very patient person. I struggle with this more than anything and listening to my kids bicker and fight non stop will de-rail my patience train in a heart beat. I’ve been trying very hard to help them become a little more independent in dealing with each other and with daily mishaps that come with being a young child. Whether they’re fighting over the My Little Ponies, or knocking over a cup of water in the kitchen, I’m doing all I can to let them fix it. Being kid-like is part of, well, being kids. Trying to police every tiny thing they do can be exhausting. Step back, watch a minute and ask yourself; Big deal, or little deal? If it’s a tipped over sippy, little deal. Let them get handle it and work it our themselves.  If they’re chasing their sibling (or you) around the kitchen with a steak knife, it’s time to intervene.

What’s your biggest Discipline Mistake?



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