Discipline is not always easy. Sometimes if you have a child with an easy temperament it can be a breeze, but it can also be really tricky and frustrating when children are more challenging, have determined temperaments or who are going through those difficult developmental stages.
I am living this at the moment. My beautiful bundle of sleeping, eating, smiling, laughing, cuddly perfection who I have gushed about being the most perfect baby in the history of the world, is going through the tantrum stage simultaneously combined with the high-pitched squealing stage and the screaming stage and the “Let’s embarrass mum in public stage”. How dare he? 😜
Oh what a joy this stage is…… One day I am hoping I will look back and laugh at this stage……ask me in a few decades…..
I have found this sudden switch of temperament in my angel baby a bit hard, as he has always been so brilliantly easy, and now he is difficult at EVERY SINGLE TURN and I am sometimes finding myself not making the right choices in managing the behaviour, just out of plain frustration, lack of time and impatience! I am having to remind myself that it is in these more challenging stages that we REALLY need to get our discipline techniques right, so I need to MAKE the time to deal with it well and muster some patience from SOMEWHERE and USE the techniques to get us all through this stage in one piece, rather than closing my eyes, deep breathing or drinking (I am not a big drinker, really I promise! Ha ha ha!).
Here are a few common mistakes parents can make when trying to get their children to cooperate, behave well, stay safe and to learn to manage their own behaviour.
Are any of these familiar? One or two are to me, so I am very happy for the reminder to get me back on track!
1. Nagging. Do you often find yourself repeating yourself? If so, you are probably training your kids to become very good at being ignorant, as they gradually become seemingly “deaf” to your voice.
Children learn more from respectful actions than your repeated words so talk once, twice at most, then do something. Even if it is just by gently leading them by the hand to where you would like them to be and what you would like them to be doing.
2. Yelling. Do you often have to shout to be heard? It sounds strange, but you are actually better off speaking quietly to get their attention – if you can just keep the volcano of stress down in the pit of your stomach for a moment! (NOT EASY!) – rather than raising your voice. When spoken to kindly, respectfully but firmly, children are more likely to cooperate than if someone barks an order at them, which is likely to get them frustrated and dig their heels in even more.
If you consider this yourself, if your boss asked you to complete something with kindness, love and total respect in their voice and manner, or they yelled an order at you rudely, which one would you be more likely to do more willingly and happily? Sure if they yell, you would probably still do it, but it also might invoke a tantrum or meltdown or encourage some pretty bad attitude back.
You are far better off “asking respectfully and then following through to ensure they are doing it” than yelling or nagging.
3. Not setting boundaries well.
Boundaries, rules, limits, guidelines expectations and standards teach kids what is expected of them. It is like testing a child on how high they can hop on one foot and rub their tummies simultaneously without telling them that this is what you are expecting from them, they are unlikely to demonstrate that skill if they don’t know that this is what you want from them.
They may not tell you this, but children love boundaries. Children mostly like to have your approval and to feel good about themselves. They also do like to push against them at times too, so you need to have a firm resolve.
Set limits in advance before problems arise. Introducing a boundary a few weeks after new object or situation is introduced (e.g. kids get an X-box and you need to limit playing time, or they get a mobile phone, or a teen starts going out at night, etc) and suddenly you are seen to be taking away a freedom. Set limits first then loosen them up later as they demonstrate that they have good responsibility and respect for those boundaries.
4. Not setting consequences well.
You absolutely have to have consequences that you ALWAYS follow through with. This is a big one. Depending on the ages and stages of your child will mean different removal of privileges, it could be taking a way a favourite toy, or no TV time for a week or two, not being able to go out, a play date, etc.), if you try to be respectful, reasonable and related to the behaviour when setting consequences you should stay on the right path.
Also ensure that the consequences match the actions, try not to make consequences too harsh, as this can cause resentment or feeling as though you are just being mean rather than trying to help them learn to manage their own behaviour, this can happen when you are both angry, it is best to sometimes wait until you have calmed down a bit to decide what is appropriate. If you ground your child for a year, you may find them sneaking out or lying to you as they see your consequences too harsh or too hard to live with, they may do this anyway, but respect is a two-way thing, they are more likely to be fair and honest with you, if you are a fair and honest role model with them.
At the end of the day, discipline is very unique to each family with all of its individuality, but if you can try to stick to the basics of speaking respectfully, setting boundaries and ALWAYS following through with fair consequences, you are likely to get it right most of the time. The remainder of the time when it doesn’t work, just try to “ride the waves” as best as humanly possible, and remember that “This too shall pass.”. Also remember to talk to other mummies and vent when you need to! My precious circle of Mummy friends is seriously like a form of therapy for me in tough times! And if all else fails and you need a shoulder to cry on or someone to rock in the corner with you, I am always here to be by your side every step of the way!
Good luck out there my beautiful friends…..good luck…. 😉