Positive parenting and discipline go hand in hand. Discipline is an essential, if not vital part of parenting.
The role of good parents is to teach their children good values, to help them to understand that every action has a consequence and to assist them in growing up to become confident and trustworthy members of society.
If discipline is lacking, children will not learn the importance of boundaries. They will have difficulty in recognising right from wrong, and will find it extremely difficult to eventually fit into a society that is governed by rules and regulations.
Disciplining children can often be very tiring and emotionally draining — especially if parents are trying to work and keep it all together, it is often easier just to give in. The fact is that positive parenting demands consistency and hard work, however the rewards are great and the result will be a happy, functional family with well-balanced children.
Some parents find it difficult to say -no’ to their children. Rather than being the -bad guy’, most parents go to great lengths to keep their children content and will give into all demands. If children do not learn to appreciate the value of no, they will believe that negative actions (like the dreaded temper tantrums or the ugly bouts of sulking) will get them exactly what they need and what they want. As the child grows, so will their demands and their demands will become bigger and more costly. Eventually the time will come, when parents will be unable to meet these demands. Saying no (and sticking to it) forms part and parcel of positive parenting and when parents stand together and form a united front, a child will learn that no means no!
Time out is by far the most effective tools in parenting and very useful especially for a highly-strung four year old – a time out is all that is needed. A child who is prone to throwing tantrums will learn quickly that spending five minutes in time out is not a pleasant experience. Time out is a practical form of discipline, as spending time alone, away from the family’s activity, the child will be taught that negative behaviour is unacceptable and parents will also be given the space to compose themselves, and remove themselves from an -out of control’ child. A child who are excluded from fun family activities will soon rethink their decision to throw themselves on the floor kicking and screaming and even though a time out may need to be carried out several times before the lesson is learnt, kids will try to find a more positive way to express their feelings of unhappiness.
Parents must not see discipline in a negative light and in fact, parents need to find effective ways of disciplining their children that will have far reaching, positive effects. All forms of discipline need to be age appropriate, and as much as discipline is important, rewards and praise for good behaviour or good deeds are just as important.
Without well-defined boundaries, kids will be unaware of what is expected of them. If a three year-old is left to run wild in a mall or left to disrupt others and parents do not explain that the behaviour is not tolerated – the three year-old will continue with the behaviour.
One of the best ways to try and achieve a balance between positive and negative behaviour is to have a reward programs in place. This program may be as a simple as a hand-drawn chart, where stars are given for positive behaviour and sad faces are given for negative behaviour. If the child earns five stars in one week a small reward must be given, and this can be a small reward, such as staying up a little later after bedtime and choosing a special book for a bedtime read. In the same vein, the inappropriate or negative behaviour must be dealt with and here a parent can take away treats or even privileges.
The rewards program or chart will give parents a chance to explain the reason for the -bad’ mark or sad face that has been earned, and by carefully explaining to the child, the child will be given the opportunity to understand why the behaviour is not acceptable. With the rewards programs, kids will try to please and earn as many happy faces as possible.
Set a good example
Children learn from example and parents, themselves can set good examples for their children to follow.
Discipline should never terrify or scare a child and it should not be used as a tool to instill fear in a child. When discipline is used in a positive and productive manner, a child will be able to clearly understand boundaries and the consequences that result when these boundaries are crossed. A child who is never taught will never learn.