5 Smart and Effective Ways to Discipline Your Child
9:45:51 2018-12-16 752

1. Add Rather than Take Away

Let's say your 10-year-old son decides it would be fun to throw rocks at ongoing cars coming and going from the neighborhood. Your first instinct might be to lock him in his bedroom for a month or perhaps you feel like throwing rocks at HIM, but instead try this tactic. This is one of the best pieces of parenting advice we ever received. It's from parenting guru, John Rosemond, family psychologist and popular columnist.


When your child breaks a rule, instead of taking something away such as a privilege or a favorite possession, add things into his schedule. It might be cleaning all the windows in your house or caring for the bathrooms for an entire week. The point is to have the consequences be something that takes time away from his own life and adds value to someone else’s.


We’ve tried this routinely with our kids resulting in two of our tweens having to clean and declutter our shed and garage one spring! It took them three full weekends and the poor behavior that got them there has never happened again.


2. Toy Timeout

Timeouts have long been one of the go-to discipline techniques parents use when they want to remove their child from an intense situation such as having a meltdown, using bad language, or being uncooperative with a sibling.


Timeouts definitely have an impact, depending on the age of the child or how often they’re used. Several of my kids loathed being put in a quiet space away from the rest of the family so they learned to stay on task because they didn’t want to be whisked away to the other end of the house for a short period of time. While timeouts are effective for removing the child from a situation that needs improving, another strategy for timeouts is using them to place toys or other favorite items in a temporary holding pattern.


A great use for a toy timeout is when siblings are fighting over the same toy or if your child consistently leaves a game, stuffed animal, or other favorite play items on the floor when it should’ve been cleaned up and put away. Create a bin for these items and set a time frame for how long the item or toy will be in timeout. Pro tip - Keep the timeframe fairly brief or your child may simply lose interest in that particular toy and move on to something else.


When she realizes that she can’t have her favorite dolly for a whole day, she’ll learn to think twice about hitting her brother with it because she doesn’t like that he touched it by mistake when he was trying to get to his Legos!


3. Rephrase Requests in the Positive

As a mom, I know how easy it is to get sucked into a world of negativity with your kids. We have so many demands put upon us that before we know it, we are mindlessly spewing the word “no” or “you can’t have” or “forget it” without even thinking.


Of course, we have to set boundaries and can’t give in to everything, but we can also try to be more reasonable when allowing our kids to do more, especially if it’s something they can do for themselves and gain some independence in the process. In my episode 5 Ways to Say “Yes” to Your Kids, you can find more fun examples of becoming more of a "yes"parent.


When you get into the habit of being mindful of positive interactions with your kids, you can turn a potential problem into a win/win simply by how you phrase your request. For example, the morning rush for many families can be chaotic and stressful when trying to get kids, and yourself, up and ready for school and work. Instead of saying, “You won’t be allowed to watch any TV this week if you don’t get dressed before breakfast,” say something like “I’ll put your favorite show on in 10 minutes, but you’ll need to be dressed.


I’ve found that when I need to request anything from having the trash taken out to a reminder about a school project's deadline, I always get the best results when I speak positively and do it face-to-face, not calling it out from another room in the house.


4. Electronic Lockdown

A couple of years ago, I attended a parenting workshop and not only did I walk away having met a group of terrific new people I never would’ve connected with, I also skipped out to the parking lot with one of the most brilliant parenting tools I’ve ever acquired—electronic lockdown.


The common thread that day was how frustrated parents are with how our kids are held hostage by their myriad of electronic devices. Despite the efforts of scheduling electronic time, our savvy kids all know how to work around these guidelines, particularly when they have smartphones that are attached to them 24/7.


That day I learned about electronic lockdown. At first, I thought we’d be physically confiscating items such as phones, iPads, and Play Stations. I rolled my eyes thinking it would be too much of a hassle. But then the speaker explained that sending kids to their rooms as punishment when they have a wealth of technology to entertain themselves is rather useless. So here are two alternatives to keep them unplugged.  Put a physical lock at the end of the plug on all their electronics such as Xbox or computers for a set period of time so they can’t plug them in. (Brilliant!) Temporarily change their phone and wifi passwords in your home until they have completed their punishment, chores etc. (Doubly brilliant!)


You won’t have to do this often. Once you do it the first time, and they see you're serious, you’ll have their undivided attention going forward.


5. Point System

When I go shopping, I absolutely love earning those cash-back reward bucks. Sometimes I walk out of a store with over $50 in free store bucks without even trying. It’s a great incentive to keep shopping at these stores and, as a bonus, I get great items such as clothing or even free items for our home.


At the same parenting workshop where I learned about the electronic lockdown (still giddy about that tip!), I also learned another great strategy when disciplining my kids—a point system.


It’s pretty simple. If your child breaks a rule. such as coming home an hour late for curfew while borrowing your car. he now loses that privilege until he earns it back with a point system.


Create a list of jobs, etc. that you want on this list and assign a point value to each. For example, earning the car back might be 1000 points. Vacuuming the family room could be 100 points. Cleaning the kitchen floor--200 points. Helping out at the food pantry 800 points. You can even enlist your kids to help with it!


As for the cash-back bucks that we earn at our favorite stores, you can create something similar for use at home. Regardless of your kids' ages, who doesn’t love getting a free and unexpected treat. If your pre-schooler cleans up without being told, he can earn a family reward buck for an ice cream cone. Your driver can earn a family reward buck for a tank of gas when he meets curfew several times in a row without a lot of fuss. You can be as creative as you want with this system. It will bring a lot of fun and excitement into your home and is a great motivator for your kids to continue making good choices.

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