Respect is the foundation of effective discipline. The child should be able to respect the parents’ authority. And in return, the parents have to understand their child. Inconsistency in applying discipline will not help the child respect his/her parents.
Harsh discipline such as humiliation, verbal abuse, shouting, name calling, will also make it hard for the children trust the parents. Discipline has to be applied with mutual respect in a firm, fair, reasonable and consistent way. The goal is to protect the child from danger, help the child learn self-discipline, and develop a healthy conscience. Discipline helps instil good value in a child.
It can be particularly hard for parents to be consistent role models. Parental disagreements about child-rearing techniques often result in inconsistent disciplining methods.
Disciplining should be age-appropriate.
Infants (birth to 12 months)
Infants need a schedule around feeding, sleeping and play or interaction with others. At this stage, they develop some tolerance to frustration and are also developing the ability to self-soothe. Discipline should not involve time-outs, spanking or consequences.
Early toddlers( one year to two years)
At the early toddler stage, the child will try to experiment with control of the physical world and has a tendency to exercise his or her own will. Parents should be tolerant and disciplinary interventions are necessary to limit aggression and prevent destructive behaviour and ensure the toddler’s safety. Toddlers are susceptible to fears of abandonment and should not be kept away from the parent. Redirecting the child’s attention to a more appropriate activity can be the best solution.
Late toddlers (two years to three years)
Knowing the pattern of a child’s reaction help prevent situations in which frustrations flare up. A child can get easily frustrated once he realises his limitations in his struggle for mastery which leads to temper outbursts. The parent should be patient and give some simple verbal explanation and reassurance while the child regains control. Taking the child away from the scene of the tantrum and redirecting his attention to some other activity will help.
HOW TO INCULCATE DISCIPLINE IN A CHILD
As a parent, it is important to keep some points in mind while disciplining your child. The most important being patient and flexible yourself.
- Clarity: Be clear when you set rules, rights and limits. Make sure the child understands why these rules are being made.
- Consistency: Be consistent in enforcing rules and stick to the consequences of breaking the rules.
- Communication: The child should be encouraged to talk and express his/her feeling to the parents.
- Caring: Use encouragement and support, not just discipline for broken rules. If a rule is broken, criticise the action and not the child.
- Create and instil a sense of responsibility in your children. The parents should set an example of honesty, fairness and social responsibility for the children to follow.