Head ‘em off at the pass!
“Head ’em off at the pass,” the old cowboys used to say. Don’t wait to start talking to your child when something has gone wrong. Talk openly with your child on a daily basis using the 4 C’s of Communication with Your Teen. Encourage them with uplifting words. And reward your child when they do something well. Then, when discipline must enter the picture, and it will, you will already have a rock solid relationship to stand on.
Make it fun?
Every child has things he does not want to do—brushing teeth, going to bed on time, taking a bath, doing homework. But they have to be done. Often, a verbal, firm command is appropriate. But sometimes, making what your child needs to do fun works too. When “Son, it’s time to brush your teeth” is met with, “I don’t want to.” Grab his favorite toy and say “Buzz is coming with you, so he can brush his teeth too!” Then actually brush Buzz’s teeth too! Suddenly it has become fun, and your son is happily brushing his teeth with Buzz by his side.
Everybody deserves a second chance right? If your child has shown a lack of respect in some way, it’s sometimes okay to give them the option of a “do-over.” For example, if your child comes into the kitchen and barks, “Where is my lunch?” Send them out of the room, give them an opportunity to think about it, and have them come back in and say in a nice voice, “Will you please make my lunch?”
Your child has known a project was due for two weeks. It’s the night before and she’s in a panic. You warned her a week ago not to wait until the last moment, but it happened anyway. She is now pleading for you to assist her. Do you help or let her experience the natural consequences of her actions? It depends. But sometimes you need to give your teen the freedom to fail.
Every child has something near and dear to them, or somewhere special they’d like to go. Favorite stuffed animals, movie nights, cell phones, school dances, gaming devices, cars are not rights that your child possesses. They are privileges that they earn. If your warnings have fallen on deaf ears or your requests have been defied, take away a privilege for a period of time. Children must learn that actions have consequences. You can use this time as a teaching opportunity to talk about needs vs. wants as well.
Do you have any discipline tips? If so, I’d love to hear them!