The BabyCenter website carries a detailed write-up on how you can address discipline issues in your children, irrespective of their age. It’s a subject that should strike a chord with every parent, as sometime or the other, we’ve all been at the receiving end of unacceptable behaviour by our children.
Why is discipline such a big dilemma? Because it feels like a tightrope act. On one side there’s the peril of permissiveness – no one wants to raise a brat. On the other side there’s the fear of over-control – who wants to be the hardliner raising cowed, sullen kids?
The article provides interesting tips for children of various age-groups, with examples of “real-life applications” for each of the rules. Here’s just a small sample of the Ground Rules it speaks of:
1. We’re all in this together… Right from the start, teach your kids that your family is a mutual support system, meaning that everyone pitches in.
2. Respect is mutual… Set a good example early on: When your child tries to tell you something, stop what you’re doing, focus your attention, and listen. Later you can require the same courtesy from her.
3. Consistency is king… Even if you pick just one chore to insist on, your child will be better off, Kindlon says. “Being firm and consistent teaches your child that you care enough about him to expect responsible behavior.”
4. Life’s not always fair… So if your child’s upset because a younger sibling got a different punishment, for example, it’s okay to say “I understand that this seems unfair to you, and I’m sorry you’re upset, but life isn’t always fair.”
I strongly recommended you read it in entirety.