Learning how to discipline your child in a way that will be most effective in teaching him everything he needs to know as he grows may seem like a challenging task. Here are some of the biggest discipline mistakes many parents make and learn what you can do about them.
1. Not Giving the Right Kind of Attention
When children don’t get enough positive attention, behavioral problems often result. Positive attention reduces attention seeking behaviors such as whining, temper tantrums, and other purposely annoying behaviors. When children don’t get attention for positive behaviors, such as playing quietly, sitting at the dinner table, and taking turns, they’ll often act out just to get any kind of attention.
2. Only Looking at the Short-Term
Another big parenting discipline mistake can be only focusing on the short-term. Good discipline techniques should also focus on the long-term. It is important to remember that your child will need certain skills in order to become a healthy, responsible adult. Therefore, the most effective discipline strategies focus not only on the short term skills needed but also teaching children long term skills.
Children need to learn that there are negative consequences for their behaviors. When parents stick to limits and provide fair, consistent, authoritative discipline strategies, children will learn the skills they need.
3. Not Creating Written Rules
When there are not clear rules, it can be quite confusing to children to know what is expected from them. Sometimes the problem is that each parent has a different rule or interpretation of the rule. This leads to children viewing one parent as the “good one” and the other parent as the “bad one”
Other times, the problem is that a parent is not consistent. Stress from other responsibilities such as work, can make a parent feel too exhausted to follow through with limits and consequences. An overworked single mother may feel too tired to make her child do his homework some nights. This can be confusing to him and may cause him to argue more on the nights she tries to get him to complete his homework, causing her to feel it just isn’t worth the trouble.
Establishing a written list of household rules helps children have more structure. When children are clear about what the limits and consequences are, they can make more informed decisions. It is important that children also have assigned chores and clear rules about money to teach them responsibility.
4. Not Having a Discipline Plan
When it comes to managing behavioral issues it is better to be proactive rather than reactive. Take some time to develop a comprehensive behavior plan to help manage behavioral issues. When parents attack problems with a clear plan, it is much easier to track the child’s progress and make changes when necessary.
Without a clear plan, parents sometimes struggle to deal with behaviors and the result is chaos. For example if a child begins hitting others, a parent may not know how to deal with the child’s aggression. As a result, the parent may sometimes use time out but at other times may spank the child out of exasperation. This inconsistency may be confusing to the child and may not stop the behavior.
Parents need to develop a behavior management plan whenever behavioral issues arise with their children. This can increase consistency and ensure that children are receiving clear messages about their behaviors.