Every time you tell your four-year-old child that you cannot buy a toy at a superstore or he/she needs to finish the meal before watching television, you have to deal with a lot whining, screaming and rolling on the floor.
While aggression and exercising their new-found independence is normal for this age, it becomes a challenge for the parents to strike a balance between disciplining the kids and stepping on their independence.
The power struggle soon transforms into a battle that no parent wants to be drawn into.
Here are some strategies that you could try, without yelling and losing your sanity.
If your child’s safety is at stake, you need to first ensure that he/she is out of danger. Then try to teach him/her in a clear, crisp sentence how to use good judgment. Like
“Don’t touch the scissors. They are sharp and you could cut your finger.”
If your kid knows what to expect, chances of getting into an argument or misbehavior are lesser. – Therefore, define the house rules clearly and repeat them often to re-enforce them.
Rewards and punishments
Make a plan about how to handle good and bad behavior in advance and always act accordingly. Giving time-outs for serious misbehaviors, ignoring mild ones and rewarding or praising good behavior ensures effective discipline.
Respond quickly but calmly
While it is easier said than done, you need to remain calm to think clearly. By yelling and spanking, you will only be setting a wrong example. Act quickly to correct the behavior because kids this age tend to forget very easily. Keep in mind that they have a short attention span and will be unable to comprehend long discussions.
Do not threaten your children with stories of ghosts or monsters to make them obey you. Although the kid is likely to cooperate at that time, you are not laying the right foundation for future.
Strike the balance between freedom and control. Give them some freedom by letting them make some choices and learning of their own while controlling the unacceptable behavior.
Warnings and consequences
Give warnings but do not repeat them over and over again. Tell them about logical consequences and give them an ‘if…then’ statement, if rules are not followed. If he/she is turning a deaf ear to warnings, move over to the consequence to show them that you really mean what you say.
Be patient and talk to your kids
Discipline cannot be taught in a day or week. The child will try to test your limits before understanding what is good or bad. Talking and listening to your kids and encouraging them to express their feelings will help them become more empathetic.
Use these effective strategies to encourage your child’s social development while cutting down on bad behavior. These will ensure that your child grows up happy, confident and well-behaved.