How to Discipline Your Child
As parents, we all want our child to grow to be a well adjusted, responsible human being who has good judgment, and knows good from bad and right from wrong. This is not a simple task, and all of us differ in how we think this can be accomplished. In order to achieve this task, we need to make sure our child understands that his actions bear consequences. We want our child to weigh his actions before he commits them, weigh the consequences, and act accordingly.
This is why we feel that occasionally, when our child acted in a way we don't approve of, we need to discipline him. We need to provide the consequences, in order to aid in the development of good judgment. A few principles help in doing that in the most effective and loving way:
- Make sure the consequences fit the action. If the consequence (in most cases the punishment) is too severe in comparison to the action (the reason for the punishment), the child will feel that the consequence is not fair. If the consequence is too light compared to the action, the child might take a "calculated risk" next time, repeating the action, willing to bear the punishment. When the consequence fits the action, your child will feel that he is being treated fairly.
- Teach your child Chess. This is a funny suggestion, isn't it? Believe me, a child that plays chess learns very fast that each move has its consequences. He learns to think before he makes a move. This then becomes a habit. (Very young children can start learning Chess, but remember to make it fun for them!)
- You don't want your child to perceive you as the source of his unpleasant consequence. The goal here is to make it clear to your child that his actions bear consequences, so his actions are the source for the unpleasant consequence. How do we achieve that? You want your child to know that you are on his side. So the key here is EMPATHY. Have empathy with your child, show him how much you care, and that you understand his feelings. Express your empathy, tell him that you understand his feelings. Provide emotional support.
This is a key to your success at disciplining your child! When you show empathy, your child will know that you care and love him, he will not perceive you as the reason to his trouble. This will keep your closeness with your child intact, and your relationship great throughout the years. The consequence is still there - your child will learn the appropriate lesson, but will not feel angry at you.
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