When your children are hurtling out of the door on their way to school, is everyone feeling calm and organised? Was your morning like a scene out of a breakfast food commercial? Breakfast eaten, clothes and shoes on, faces and teeth clean and back packs ready? Odds are; probably not.
I have never seen a realistic breakfast food commercial; far too organised.
Would you like more serenity in your mornings, afternoons and nights? Following are 20 tips that can create positive changes in the way you teach your child how to be self disciplined. The outcome of implementing positive discipline is to eventually teach your children how to have a confident sense of self, healthy boundaries and self discipline.
An important fact is that there is a big difference between punishment and discipline: Punishment does not teach in a positive way, it is the enforcement of one will against another. It causes shame, rebellion and submission through fear.
‘Most parents assume that strict parenting produces better-behaved kids. However, research studies on discipline consistently show that strict, or authoritarian, child-raising actually produces unhappy kids who feel bad about themselves and behave worse than other kids — and therefore get punished more!’ Dr Laura Markham.
Discipline, however, is teaching, training, or guiding another. Some of the outcomes of positive discipline are; a child who has the opportunity to grow up with self control, values, and can reflect on how their behaviour affects others.
If we want to change our children’s behaviour it is up to us as conscious parents to reflect on our behaviour and change our behaviour first. To always be a role model, and be the leader our child requires. To lead with positive, loving, and gentle guidance.
To create less stress and yelling and more positive action, here are the Top 20 Tips to create ‘Positive Discipline’ techniques in your family:
- If you’re feeling stressed it is very important to take a deep inhalation of breath and force out a long exhalation to calm the parasympathetic nervous system. It really helps.
- The tone and pitch of your voice has a lot to do with how your children hear you or not. Yelling only gets everyone’s adrenals pumping and fight – flight kicks in. Then no one is listening.
- Gently touch your child when you are speaking to them; it is an act of love and it helps to get their attention and focus on you
- Have realistic expectations about what your child is capable of, and how much time they need to fulfil a task. Each child has a different response to changing from one action to another. Some children need to get prepared for the next day the night before.
- Use a kitchen timer, one for each child to help them stay on task. Teach them how to use it constructively so they can be responsible for their time management
- Do your best to refrain from empty threats, if you say ‘no’ mean it the first time you say it. Be prepared to carry through and walk your talk or children will only become more confused and not take you seriously.
- By speaking to your child with respect, you are role modelling how you desire to be spoken to. Having a personal ‘code word’ to share when emotions are getting high is a great tactic and a fun way to help shift stressful energy and avoid blowups.
- It takes most people 21 days to change a behaviour, so when implementing new structures in the family allow time for changes to take place. Be aware of old behaviours that may hijack you away from creating calm.
- You can’t teach someone to swim when they are drowning; meaning pick appropriate times to teach your children new methods when they are fresh and happy to listen.
- Using role play is a fun and powerful way to teach children new skills and what your expectations are. Younger children enjoy using a toy or puppet to learn a new skill, e.g. how to hang up their towel or pick up after themselves.
- Offering children two choices is a fair way to get thing done; it gives a child the opportunity to make constructive decisions. This can also prevent a battle of wills.
- Having a relaxed family meeting once a week will help keep everyone on the same page and give the opportunity to contribute their points of view.
- Focusing on each other’s strengths and who enjoys certain tasks is very building.
- Remember to always encourage children with loving words and tell them exactly what it is you like about them or their accomplishment; be specific
- Check lists work well for some children, or contracts as long as Mum and Dad have a contract too. Set up consequences with the children, this helps them take responsibility.
- When rewarding your child for a job well done or behaviour challenge met, offer special Mum and Dad time, or fun activities instead of monetary or material rewards
- Focus on exactly what you want and why to promote a clarity of understanding
- Be specific in your dialogue and action; ask specific questions. Check understanding of what is being communicated – ask your child to repeat what you have said (in their own words)
- Have clear boundaries; your children will feel safe and know their limitations. This does not mean they won’t push them as all children will push their boundaries to see what happens.
- Be present and aware of your self expression as they are watching and modeling you. One of the main reasons children will act out is to call you back to being present with them.
20 tips are not nearly enough to cover this diverse topic, so I hope these are helpful. Last but not least, remember to keep your sense of humor and if the going gets tough, get down on the floor and wriggle like a worm; believe me everyone will feel better then you can deal with the situation or mood in a more constructive way.
I hope for all of you with children at school or Kindy that they have a wonderful year and most mornings everyone is in the car buckled up, and calm with time to spare.