How to Deal with Discipline Problems Among Children
Updated: Feb 5
As parents ourselves, we know how challenging it is to deal with tantrum-throwing, whining, arguing or nay-saying children. All is not lost, if we practise the right attitude in handling these issues, we could lead our children towards more positive discipline.
Disciplining and teaching a child to behave is the utmost priority in every parent's scope. You might have experience dealing the most challenging project at work, but disciplining a young child sets the difficulty level a tad higher: it's a job that takes time and patience. Here are some strategies to ease your behavioural-teaching days.
1. You're the role model.
You are frustrated that your child has done it again. Before you burst out in anger, take a moment off and hold back to reconsider if what you plan to scold or punish will actually change anything. Your child watches you from time to time, your action will have a direct impact on their characteristic build-up. Teach children right from wrong with calm words and actions. Always remember, model behaviours you would like to see in your children. It requires some skills to speak effectively when dealing with children with discipline problems. Here are some simple techniques:
Turn "you" statements into "I" messages ❌ You're so selfish that you won't even share your toys with your friends. ✔️ I like it when I see children sharing their toys.
Focus on do's rather than don'ts ❌ Don't leave your toys in the living room. ✔️ If you put your toys away in proper place, they won't be scratched so easily.
Make sure your tone and words do not imply that you no longer love your child. ❌ I really can't stand it if you act like that! ✔️ I don't like it when you try to tear the pages from that book. (one specific behaviour)
2. Set limits
In order to collectively rectify a child's behaviour, it is a key for parents to define what's important to you and set limits accordingly. Be sure to explain these rules in age-appropriate terms they can understand and follow through with appropriate consequences. Once this has been successfully communicated to the child, a parent should always be consistent with the limit. If a parent's reaction to a situation keeps changing, a child will be confused with mixed signals.
3. Give consequences
If you feel your child is acting beyond the limit, calmly and firmly explain the consequences if they don't behave. For example, tell her that if she does not complete an assigned task, you will not allow her to watch television for the rest of the day. Once you have clearly stated the consequences, be prepared to follow through right away. Don't give in until the time mentioned. However, never take away something your child needs, such as a meal.
4. Listen to them
Children need to be heard as much as adults. They feel better when they know they have been heard. When your child is trying to explain a situation to you or telling you about the problem he's facing, let him finish the story before offering a helping hand.
5. Give them attention
All children want their parent's attention. This explains why giving attention to your children is the most powerful tool for effective discipline. Due attention leads to constructive communication, it is through all these consistent efforts that good behaviours can be reinforced while others be discouraged.
6. Reward good behaviour
To help children identify the right from wrong, they need to know when they misbehaved -- and when they have done something good. In cases in which they do behave appropriately, the good behavious deserves to be pointed out. Praising their success and good tries is like a spoonful of sugar: It helps the medicine go down. Sensible use of special treats and rewards is a way to show your child you're aware of his achievements and respectful of his feelings.
7. There are times when parents need not respond.
Some actions are actually more annoying than harmful. As long as your child isn't doing something dangerous, ignoring bad behaviour is another method of stopping it. If you focus on them too much, you're more likely to get caught in a power struggle or reinforce the negative behaviour. When parents ignore a bad behaviour, children will learn the natural consequences of their actions. For example, if she throws and breaks her toy, she will not be able to play with it. Soon, she will play carefully with her toys.
8. Redirect bad behaviour
When a child misbehaves, don't be too quick to judge. Their misbehaviour may due to their boredom or just simply don't know any better. Find something else for your child to do. More importantly, spend time with your child as much as possible.
8. Give a time-out
When children misbehave and parents try to correct them, feelings and emotions can get out of control. A time-out allows the parent and child time to cool down. This discipline tool works most effectively by warning children they will get a time out if they don't stop. After reminding them what they did wrong in as few words and as little emotion as possible, remove them from the situation for a pre-set length of time (a minute per year of age). When it goes off, ask the child to apologise and give her a big hug to convey that you're not angry.