Discipline dilemmas plague all parents. Most of the time it feels like a tightrope act, right? On the one side there’s the peril of permissiveness – no one wants to raise a spoilt brat… But, on the other hand, no one wants to be a hard-liner either!

How can you tell if you’re taking your discipline techniques too far or not far enough? What do you do if your five-year-old gets sassy at the dinner table, or when your teen deliberately misses curfews? Are you always the cop, the nagger, the monitor, or the reminder? And, do you (more often than you’d like to admit) turn into “The Hulk”, when things get out of hand?

Let’s face it, raising kids is one of the most fulfilling, yet toughest jobs in the world and as parents we all want the best for our kids. Overly harsh discipline could cause resistance and retaliation, while kids with too relaxed parents often struggle with poor self-control and have difficulty committing to decisions. What we’re looking for is kind of a middle ground to make sure that we raise caring and well-behaved kids, don’t you agree?

Positive discipline involves parenting in a warm, kind, respectful way with firm boundaries and relevant, reasonable consequences. The focus is entirely on learning (for the future) instead of punishing (of the past). Just look at the mama bird; she knows instinctively when it’s time to push her baby bird from the nest so it will learn how to fly. Seems a little mean, but the baby bird would not learn how to fly without the mama bird providing that all important gentle push.

So, are you struggling with being a firm, but kind parent? We have a few tips on finding the balance between a drill sergeant and a pushover:

  • Focus on controlling yourself – not your child. Anger and frustration feed misbehaviour.
  • Never shame them. Discipline in private.
  • Give them a voice. Allow them to present their case and listen without arguing. This allows everyone to air their concerns and brainstorm solutions together.
  • Catch them being good. Find something to praise every day. Make them feel proud, capable and strong.
  • Show them that your love is unconditional, even if you don’t love their behaviour.
  • Be clear about rules. Set clear expectations and boundaries. State what you want to happen, not what you want to stop.
  • Consistency is king. Teach them that actions have consequences, always.
  • Choose your battles. Know what to ignore. Lots of rules = lots of rule breaking.
  • Let the punishment fit the crime.
  • Build problem-solving skills by giving them choices. Allow them to make decisions about e.g. about what to wear.
  • Be a role model. You are being watched! Model the traits you want to see in your child; Respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness and tolerance.

Remember Mom and Dad, there are no good or bad kids, just good and bad behaviour.

Discipline is a teaching tool. And, when we remember that the goal of discipline is to teach our kids to make good choices, we may be less likely to be reactionary parents that respond out of anger, and more likely to embrace a loving and positive disciplinary strategy.

Source: www.webmd.com, blog.positivediscipline.com, www.pbs.org, www.babycentre.co.uk, www.positivediscipline.com, kidshealth.org, www.parents.com, childsafe.com, www.realsimple.com, www.supernanny.co.uk, www.livingandloving.co.za, www.workingmother.com, afineparent.com, www.all4women.co.za, www.youtube.com, www.healthychildren.org

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.