Are your discipline methods working? There are many ways to discipline children, but often, it’s hard to know whether our discipline methods are working. In the heat of the moment, you may send your child to his room for isolation and later think that maybe taking away his TV privileges would have been more effective.
So how can you know for sure whether your discipline methods are working? There’s one simple question you can ask yourself: Do my child’s behaviors change after my usual form of discipline? If so, then what you are doing is working. If not, you need to reevaluate your methods.
I once heard someone say that the definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I’m not calling anybody crazy, but it’s a nice idea to remember when you’re feeling frustrated that your child’s behaviors aren’t improving. If things aren’t working, you need to change your methods.
It’s hard not to get stuck in the same routine with the same discipline methods. After all, it is far easier to send your preschooler to his room when something like cancelling a playdate would be more effective. Here are some creative discipline ideas to try:
- Old method: Tell your child over and over to stop grabbing things off the shelf at the grocery store.
- New method: Ask the store clerk to put your cart in the cooler and take your child home for discipline. Send your spouse back to the store later to pay for the groceries.
- Old: Threaten your child with a timeout when he’s screaming in the car.
- New: Don’t get in the car until he has stopped screaming. If you are already on the road, pull over and get out. Nobody wants to be in a confined space with a screamer!
- Old: Push toy after toy at your toddler to quiet him in a restaurant.
- New: Take him to a quiet place in the restaurant (like the restrooms) or outside and firmly explain the behavior you expect of him.
- Old: Feel rushed and stressed getting your child to school on time because he won’t get out of bed.
- New: Let him be late and don’t bail him out.
Also consider that perhaps the behavior doesn’t need discipline at all. I notice that when my kids are getting restless, things can easily snowball out of control. One minute, they’re a little silly. The next minute, they’re running around the house chasing each other and getting hurt. I certainly do discipline when it gets to this point, but it’s far better if I stop them at the point of silly and pull out a bin of toys for them to play with. Channeling that energy into something more productive is far more effective than disciplining after the fact.
Any parent’s ultimate goal is to instill in the child a sense of right and wrong. If your methods aren’t accomplishing this then you need to rethink your discipline and find a new way that will give you the results you are looking for.