The Four-Steps Discipline Method
Discipline can be challenging and exhausting if not done the right way. But you don't have to feel like this anymore because, with these four steps, discipline can be easy and effective.
1. Set CLEAR limits and rules in the family from the BEGINNING
Set clear, and achievable rules so children will be able to carry out their duties confidently. You will have to state those limits very clearly and make sure everyone in the family understands them. Be open to discussions and suggestions from children. Let them be responsible for their own decisions.
"You are to make your bed every morning"
"You are to finish your homework before you can play games"
2. Rules and consequences have to be AGREED upon by everyone in the family
Discuss and preview home rules and consequences with your children. This is a matter concerning the whole family, therefore it is important to come to a mutual understanding and agreement BEFORE implementing those rules. Remember, mutual respect is important in a family.
"You are to finish your meal at the table before you can watch tv. If you did not finish, you are not allowed to watch tv"
3. For every rule broken, comes a CONSEQUENCE
When a child breaks a rule, consequences WILL be implemented. Consequences are not punishment. Consequences are responses to behaviours that have been agreed upon. These responses include removing privileges or preferred items from the child. Not yelling, hitting or punishing.
4. CONSISTENCY is Key
When rules are set and agreed, consistency in implementing consequences have to be followed through no matter what. For example, if a child insists on taking his dinner in front of the tv when he was told not to, consequences should be given.
Parent: "Honey, you are to eat dinner on the table with everyone else. You may watch tv after dinner. If you still insist on watching tv, your dinner will be taken away."
Your child will feel hungry, and you may feel sorry. You can reason out with your child about what happened. But for behaviour change, there should not be any exceptions. You have to be consistent and persistent with the consequences and followthrough. There is no need for any angry yelling or forcing.
When parents set limits, and discipline with kindness and respect,
1. Children will respect parents' firmness and decisions
2. Children will have stronger self-esteem and self-respect
3. Children will learn how to cope with emotions better
4. Children will have better social relationships with family and friends
Parents, remember this, the next time you discipline, be sure to have these four steps in mind. Always approach children's behaviour with kindness and wisdom, not anger.