Are you the sort of mom who finds herself threatening her child with punishment and not following through, yelling, or giving your little one the silent treatment? Well, for many mums, these happen to be last-resort disciplining measures that they swear they’d ever use. These tricks were used by our parents back in the days when they wanted to make sure we sit still and remain ‘good’ in front of others. But these days, the approach that mums need to take involves having to assist their children in developing a moral compass along with the intelligence required for them to decide what ‘good’ behavior is all about without you having to follow through on everything they do.
As disciplining is an important part of every child’s upbringing, making discipline mistakes is part of being a parent. However, even the finest of intentions have the potential to turn into bad habits that aren’t efficient at all. As a consequence, you just might end up finding yourself disciplining your child in ways that you hadn’t given much thought before.
To put it in simple words, as parents, we have all been there and you aren’t the only one who has ever made discipline mistakes. To help you out, here are a few disciplining mistakes that most mothers (and parents in general) make and how you can fix them:
most mothers (and parents in general) make and how you can fix them:
7 Excessive negativity
What does that mean? Well, do “Stop pulling the cat’s tail” and “Don’t hit your brother” ring a bell? Of course it does. The number of things that you end up telling your kid not to do is just about endless. Honestly speaking, put yourself in your kid’s place and imagine – is hearing no’s and don’ts any fun at all? If it isn’t fun for you, as an adult, then how do you expect it to be fun for your little one? Staying focused on what your child did wrong or what he should not do rather than paying emphasis to what he should do has the potential to make things appear much more negative to kids and set a ‘negative’ tone for your interaction with him.
What should I do?
To begin with, you need to inform your child about the behavior you wish to see. It’s obvious that you don’t want to raise a child who has no understanding whatsoever of limits, but this doesn’t mean that you should say ‘no’ to your child all the time. The worst part about saying so frequently to your kid is that with time your kids will start becoming deaf to it – the word no is going to lose all its meaning and power.
What may mums do wrong is that they keep telling their kids not to do something without telling them exactly what they should be doing instead. All this naysaying basically needs to be saved for situations that are truly dangerous – such as the time your child decides to eat the spider plant or wants to put a fork in the electrical socket. Apart from that, you need to focus on informing your child how you would like him to behave. For instance, instead of yelling at him and saying, “No standing in the bathtub”, say something like, “You should sit down in the bathtub because it is slippery and you might get hurt”.
6 Having unreasonable expectations
This particularly holds true in terms of parenting in public, which is an instance in which even the best parents are known to have fumbled in. As a parent, you may expect your child to sit quietly in a restaurant and enjoy his meal, but there isn’t much chance that he understands what is expected of him. In such a case, most parents just order their kids to be quiet, but do their kids understand? No they don’t in most cases. The expectation being held here is rather unreasonable particularly if the child is of a very young age. Instead of ordering, such a child would be better off if you just explain to him that he needs to be quiet and talk in a soft tone because you’re in a restaurant at the moment and others will get disturbed by his noise. Yes, this is going to take a lot of time and patience but trust me, it is your one and only best bet.
Children find it hard to understand even the most basic demands and expectations at times – after all, they are just kids. You really can’t expect them to be perfect and shushing your child when he, for example, shouts in the church, isn’t going to do any good.
Fix your mistake
It takes a lot of time for young children to develop impulse control or learn the social graces required in public places. As a parent, you shouldn’t assume what he does and doesn’t know because your child is just that – a child. Even if he loses it in public, remind yourself that he doesn’t know how to act in certain situations and snapping at him isn’t the way. Instead, make your child understand how you expect him to act, and with time you’ll see a major difference in his behavior.
5 Modeling behavior that you don’t want to see
When a man cuts you off, you call him, well, something really nasty. When you drop something on the floor, you yell. However, if your child acts the same way when things don’t go his way, you start getting mad at him. Neither is this reasonable nor is it fair because this is the sort of behavior that you exhibit in front of your little one – how else do you think he will act? What else do you think he will learn?
In order to teach your child good behavior, it is necessary for you to model good behavior. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to take a ‘practice what you preach’ approach in this regard so you can actually show your child how he needs to behave and what you expect of him. If you tell your child not to tell lies and frequently lie about things yourself to get out of things that you don’t want to do, things really aren’t going to work out for you or your kid. If you yell frequently, then there isn’t much chance that your child will learn to speak nicely to others. Before teaching your child something, you need to see your own behavior and remember that your child is watching your every move – remember that you need to teach him by using your own example.
I fibbed – what do I do?
If you’ve just made a mistake that you don’t want your child to follow, say sorry right away and take a do-over. Yes, it is going to be very hard for you to stay on your best behavior all through the day, so if you slip up, you need to apologize instantly so your child knows it was a mistake.
4 Disciplining your child out of pure frustration
At times parents tend to decide when their child needs a disciplining lesson based on their own exhaustion and frustration. There are times when they are completely exhausted and need a bit of ‘quiet time’, but that’s just when their kid decided to run around the house and make some serious noise. Out of frustration, the child’s parents just shout at him to sit down, keep it low, and play with his toys. If this is what you do too, do you really suppose your child will learn any serious disciplinary lesson from this? No, you will not teach him anything this way.
The worst part about disciplining your child in such a situation is that you just might say something that you are bound to regret later on.Moreover, you might even take out all your frustrations on him and make him feel bad. If your child is doing something you don’t like when you’re frustrated or upset, don’t scream and shout – instead, take a moment, relax, gather your thoughts and remind yourself that he’s just a child. If you are overly upset or frustrated, take a walk and think things through so you’ll be calmer when you get back home.
Let your child be
If your child is doing something you don’t like when you’re upset, it is best for you to stay calm, and if it is safe, just let your child be for a while. Remember, your little one needs all the time in the world to experiment with things and explore around. If the noise is too much, tell your child (as lovingly as possible) that you are tired and need a bit of ‘quiet’ in the house. Trust me, if you explain things politely, your child will be more than willing to play with his toys quietly.
3 Taking the one size fits all approach
This is one of the worst approaches to take when it comes to disciplining your child. What worked on your elder kids or your best friend’s kid doesn’t necessarily have to work for your young kid because it just might be the wrong approach for him. Seriously speaking, this is one of the biggest parenting mistakes that you will ever make.
Many mums think that any disciplinary technique that works with one child will work with every single child out there.This isn’t necessarily the case. Your child is an individual and you need to understand (and accept) his individuality. If one child has a more so understanding nature, the only thing he made need to behave is a mere verbal reminder. However, if he has a more aggressive sibling, you may need to be sterner and, for instance, take away his TV rights for a few days to make him understand things. But while you are at it, you must not become overly strict with one child, and extremely lenient with the other. Not only should the punishment he receives fit his nature, it must also match the level of misbehavior.
Before disciplining your child, you need to remember that he is just a child, and like adults, kids have their own personalities, quirks and temperaments. If one of your kids is very easy going, his sibling may be very stubborn and have a meltdown each time things don’t go his way. For this reason, you need to tailor your disciplining techniques with regards to your kids’ natures and personalities.
2 Linking disciplining with punishing
At times mums forget that disciplining children needs to be focused on giving them firm guidelines and setting limits so that the need to punish them doesn’t arise every now and then. What this means is that disciplining is all about setting up expectations and boundaries so that your child knows what is expected of him and behaves accordingly. The primary goal that you should strive for is to get your kid to learn how to regulate himself so that there is no need whatsoever for you to punish him.
Your kid doesn’t need or deserve to be punished – this is something that moms at times forget when it comes to disciplining. When disciplining your child, you basically need to define his boundaries and your expectations so that he knows just how to go about things. Your main concern should be to help your child learn about self-control.
Fix this problem
In order to fix this particular disciplining mistake, it is extremely important for you to re-think the way that you view discipline. Remember, disciplining your child is all about showing him how to make the best choices and work on behaviors that are positive – everything that is good for your precious bundle of joy. As long as you handle his misbehavior in a positive, loving and constructive manner (so that you emphasize on learning instead of hard punishments), you will be able to teach your child about the ways in which he should interact with other people. Just keep in mind that disciplining doesn’t equal punishments – it’s about teaching your child things in a loving and positive manner.
1 An outright rejection to disciplining
Yes, there are many parents out there who believe that it is best not to discipline their child at all. This, I believe, is one of the worst parenting mistakes that one can make. There are countless reasons why you should discipline your child. To begin with, children who are raised with set limits and adequate guidance are believed to be more likely to grow up into pleasant, happy individuals with excellent self-control – to me, this is reason enough for a parent to consider disciplining his/her kids.
The one thing I must add here is that the effects are rather clear when a child is not disciplined. Honestly speaking, I’ve seen things turn rather catastrophic for a few families that I know who took this approach. In the long run, their children turned out to be spoilt, selfish, unpleasant to be around and just didn’t have the ability to regulate themselves. Denying the importance of discipline is just not possible and taking the ‘no disciplining’ route is just going to prove disastrous for you and your kid.
What should I do?
Instead of giving your child such a freehand, set clear limits and rules for your kid. When your child misbehaves badly, there should also be consistent and clear consequences for him. There is no need at all for you to worry about your child getting angry over you due to your disciplining techniques because seriously, it’s the bigger picture that matters here. To avert any hard feelings and negativity, just make sure that you handle your kid’s misbehavior in loving manner and offer him firm guidance.