In my last blog post, I discussed how many professionals feel that time out is not beneficial for children. Overall, there has been a great shift in the understanding of children and their development. We now know so much about the way children’s minds develop and the importance of bonding with their parents.
As parents, our goal is to create a healthy, secure attachment with our children, where we respond to our child’s needs and wants. From their parents, children learn about having relationships with others, and developing social skills and empathy. Simply, it is the relationship through which all other relationships are defined.
That is why discipline, or rather the way we teach our children about behavior, is so very important. When I work with parents, I like to move away from using discipline and instead focus on how parenting is about teaching appropriate behavior.
I find “positive discipline” the best way to think about parenting. Positive behavior is about parents modeling appropriate behavior to children so that they learn to use these behaviors. For instance, if we yell when we get upset then they learn to yell when they are upset. It is really that simple.
When we interact with our children keep these tips in mind:
- Remember to connect with them on their level
- Take time to play with them and enter their creative world by following their lead
- Incorporate your children in the creation of household routines
- Provide limited choices and give them opportunities to help
- Be respectful of them
- Use humor and enjoy your time with them by getting to know them and their world
- Be firm and kind but remember that children are still developing language abilities so limit your language and the use of words. Try to use if/then statements so you are clear with your children
- Be patient
Parenting is one of the hardest aspects of life but it can also be the most rewarding. That said it is not easy. It’s important to remember that we all make mistakes and one of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is how to apologize. If you have a stressful moment with your child, go ahead and apologize. Let them know in a genuine way that you are sorry and that you love them and will love them always. This is a wonderful way to model appropriate ways of handling stress and anger.