Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Discipline for Softies

According to an article in the June 2012 issue of Parent magazine, much of the heavy lifting of discipline comes before misbehavior happens, not after.  Having a few well-thought-out guidelines will result in fewer instances where you need to be the bad guy.

Step 1: Be Realistic  Setting reasonable expectations means first understanding what your child is developmentally capable of.  For instance, 3-year-old lack the maturity and social awareness to share consistently.  If you insist on sharing at this age, you'll only end up fighting.  For more info on age-appropriate behavior, go to parents.com/behavior-expectations. 
Step 2: Know Yourself  Only set rules that you're willing to go to the wall for every time, like no hitting.  You may dream of a world where your kids make their bed each day, but if you know you'll give in when they push back, scrap bed-making as a requirement or amend the rule in a way you can get behind (such as saying that beds must get made but you'll help).
Step 3: Make It Official  Call a family meeting to collaborate on a few essential house rules that everyone can agree to.  Let kids contribute every step of the way, offering ideas, decorating the list, and choosing a spot to post it.  Then, if they break a rule, you can direct them back to the agreement they helped create.


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