Making your child disciplined is the biggest challenge for parents. This is a taxing but rewarding experience for the parents. The techniques that are effective on a child differ from one child to the other. Also the environment in which a child is placed effects his behavior and the methods to be used to discipline him also differ. It is an admitted fact that the children born and brought up in unitary families are better behaved as compared to children living in joint families as they get more pampered and need stricter disciplinary methods.
There were times when it was considered that spanking is the best method to discipline the child but research on child behaviour has shown that this may be the method effective to some extent on the children in the age group of 2 to 6 if used sparingly. Even if other members of the family spank the child, it will be better to explain to them about drawbacks of spanking and benefits of other methods that can be used to discipline the child. Some of the techniques that will work well to discipline your child can be:
It will be better if you learn about development of childhood. A child passes through different stages of development as he grows up. All normal children behave in a particular manner at a particular age and under particular circumstances. If you understand the developmental stage of your child it will be easier for you to discipline him. You will be able to know when to discipline the child and when to ignore certain behaviour. A child may be well behaved when alone or when with you but may become uncontrollable when another kid of his age comes visiting. This is a natural phenomenon which will need to be ignored when the other child is around, but when the child is alone in your company, try explaining to him. Persuasion will be the best policy in such circumstances.
Natural consequences which the child will face, as a result of not being disciplined, is the best teacher. Tell the child of the consequences of his behaviour. If your child does not properly keep the toys and throws them here and there, instead of being harsh with him always, tell him that this way he can lose his toys or they may get damaged. Once the toys left outside are lost or damaged, the child will understand consequences. Similarly, if the child leaves his things in school, let him face the consequence. This way he will get better disciplined.
Continuously try to explain to the child of the logical consequences of indiscipline. If the child does not behave well with the children younger to him and breaks their toys, persuading him by telling him that an older child can cause damage to his toys may help. If the child does not follow rules of crossing the road or runs towards the middle of the road, show him photographs of accident victims and explain the consequences of his behaviour. This way it will be easier to discipline the child.
Distraction works well with pre-school children or toddlers. This is an effective tool to redirect the attention of the child from inappropriate to appropriate. Generally children insist on doing something which you do not consider appropriate like jumping on the sofa or the bed. In such a case distraction can work well to impart discipline and also enable the child to fulfil his desire. If you have a trampoline in the backyard of your home, ask the child to go there and jump. Or take the child to a garden and let him run around. If none of these is possible, the attention of the child can be diverted by making him play with some toy of his choice. Once the child settles down, you can tell him that jumping inside was not appropriate and he will understand what is to be done at home and outdoors.
Saying no to a child may result in development of sense of indiscipline or rebellion in the child. If you say no to the child a number of times, it is certain that he will not listen to you. Instead assert in a positive manner, this way the child will learn to be more disciplined. If you tell your child not to do a thing as this will result in breaking his toy, there are chances that the child will find an occasion and repeat that thing. Instead if you tell your child to do a thing to avoid damage to the toy, he will follow you. So instead of saying don’t do that say why don’t you do that, it will impart better discipline in the child.
Reward system can be one of the best techniques to discipline your child. It is not necessary that you give some physical reward to the child for some good deed, even words of appreciation at times can work wonders in disciplining the child. Thanking the child for some work done on your behalf or on your request, or praising the child for good behaviour during the last one hour or so could be the best method of imparting discipline. Occasionally the child should be rewarded with a cookie of his choice or you can reward him with a toy of his choice for good behaviour. Look for the time when the child is not behaving in a bad manner to reward.
You can introduce a reward system for the behaviour of the child. Give reward points when he is behaving in a good manner and deduct points when not behaving appropriately. The accumulated points can be traded with a gift of the choice of the child. Or the child could lose a privilege which he generally gets; like outing on weekends and dinner outside if the reward points are less than the decided numbers. This way the child will try to be disciplined and will develop this habit. You will need to be careful to ascertain that the child is not behaving for reward points only but developing the disciplinary habits even otherwise in his day to day dealing.
Parents are the first teachers of the child. If you behave in an appropriate manner in the presence of the child he will try to follow you. If you leave your things scattered in the room, the child is bound to develop a similar habit and leave his toys or books scattered all around.
If you are angry, control yourself and let the phase of anger pass and then try explaining the child to be disciplined. Your persuasion as a parent will do well, it is for you to decide which method works well, a combination of two or more can also be tried. Your spouse or family members should be supportive otherwise the child may develop the habit of taking shelter with them. Teach your child not to indulge in this habit otherwise there will be imminent punishment.