There is a common misconception that discipline and punishment are interchangeable. Punishment, however, teaches a child very little about self-discipline and control and is instead considered a negative reinforcement.
Practicing discipline with love, on the other hand, focuses on helping your child learn how to develop self-control, healthy boundaries, and manage healthy relationships.
Naturally, children will test boundaries and will push you to the limit in the process. At these points, it can be easy to snap in frustration which may lead to unfair punishment and negative reinforcement.
Remember, your child is a child, and you are an adult, their boundary-pushing and challenging behavior is all a part of the journey. However, how you experience this journey will depend on how you discipline your child.
Disciplining with love and care rather than fear is becoming increasingly popular and is essential for positive parenting.
Disciplining with love rather than imposing punishment, helps to model unconditional love, respecting space, model mentorship, practicing healthy boundaries, and learning from mistakes.
This post will give you all the information you need to go down the route of disciplining with love and care.
Why Move Away From Punishment And Disciplining With Fear
Disciplining with fear using methods such as aggressive shouting and spanking is a form of punishment that leads to children growing up motivated by fear. It leads to children’s expressive aggressive behavior and anger which they take with them into adulthood.
This form of discipline is unproductive as it fails to teach children how to take responsibility for their actions.
Why Guide With Love
Disciplining your child is an effective way of achieving long-term results of positive behavior and instilling the value of self-control. Disciplining with love means that you recognize that children need rules and boundaries that set them up for success in adult life.
Disciplining with love is a great way to help your children prepare for the years ahead as certain practices will teach your child how to be emotionally mature and how to accept and take responsibility for their actions. Teaching your children in this way will ensure that both you and your child are happy.
At the end of the day, children learn from others. You are their biggest role model. If you want them to love self-control and taking responsibility, they’ll need to learn it from you… be a model for them.
The following will go through points on how to practice disciplining with love and care.
Let Your Child Experience Natural Consequences
Letting your child experience natural consequences is a way of helping them learn that their actions and behavior have a direct impact on them and what happens next.
A lot of the time, children will act up or misbehave without thinking about what consequences their actions will have. Teaching them to learn about natural consequences is a valuable lesson that will teach them to consider their actions.
An example of this would be a child having a tantrum. During that tantrum, they choose to throw their toys at a wall in anger. The result is that one of the toys they like to play with.
At this point, don’t rescue them. When they next come to play with the toy, they’ll realize that they can’t because they broke it. Whilst not stepping in may be difficult, distancing yourself teaches a great lesson of space.
Letting your child experience natural consequences teaches them that firstly the choices they make have consequences that put the control in their hands. And secondly, that you will not always be around to solve a situation.
Look Deeper Into The Behavior
It’s easy to assume that when your child is acting out, they are just doing it for the sake of it. However, it’s rare that a child will misbehave for no reason. Often then behaviors or outbursts are a cry for attention and there is often a root cause leading them to act out.
When they next start to act up, take a second and consider what could trigger the outburst. Has there been something going on in the background recently?
If there is nothing obvious that you can think of, they may be misbehaving to get noticed or in an attempt to get your attention.
To avoid attention tantrums, make sure you take out time from your day to spend one-on-one with your child giving them your undivided attention. This can just be time to simply play and talk.
This practice will help to teach your child to not seek attention as they will learn that you always have time for them.
It will also help to strengthen your relationship as the one-on-one time will provide time and space for your child to open up to you. In this time you may find what the root cause of the problem was.
Discipline doesn’t necessarily have to be practiced midway through a tantrum or bad behavior. Discipline is associated with the practice or training of a person to help them to learn rules and codes of conduct.
Indirect discipline such as looking deeper into your child’s behavior and spending quality time with your child is a way of preventing poor behavior.
Make Realistic Consequences
If your child is acting out and you feel the need to practice direct discipline such as removing a toy or stopping them from doing something. In this case, it’s important to make sure your consequences are reasonable in relation to the situation.
For example, if you state that they aren’t allowed to attend a birthday party in a couple of weeks’ time. Think realistically, in a couple of weeks, will you have forgotten to enforce it? If the answer is yes, then this consequence is unrealistic.
The trick here is to stick to consequences you can enforce at the moment. Don’t give in too soon.
Backing down quickly will only teach them that you’re not serious and that they can get what they want. Instead, you need to be strong here. Be consistent and explain that ‘X’ is the consequence of their behavior because of ‘Y’. Make sure to keep your explanation clear and concise.
This form of discipline will teach your child that you are serious about the consequences of bad behavior. This will teach them to reflect on their actions.
Set A Good Example
Kids are pretty good at imitating their parents. Sometimes they mimic good qualities, other times they imitate bad traits that you didn’t even realize they had picked up.
If you’re wanting your child to grow into a respectable adult that takes responsibility for their actions, is compassionate and practices self-control, these are all qualities that you’ll need to model for them consistently.
This means remaining calm in situations with your child when tensions are high. You’re only human, it’s natural to get frustrated but these situations make for great lessons.
When your child is acting out and you and your child are both feeling frustrated, explain to them calmly that you understand that they are upset and that you know what they’re feeling as you are also feeling upset and frustrated.
Explain to them calmly that you are going to take a deep breath and calm down.
After, give them a hug and explain that it’s not them that you are not happy with but their behavior. Opening up with your child in this way will teach them that it’s okay to be emotionally vulnerable but also that misbehavior can be resolved when dealt with in the right way.
In this situation, you are modeling your self-control and teaching them that it is not necessary to raise your voice or become aggressive in moments of upset or frustration.
Discipling with love and care is all about compassion. It is about guiding and teaching your child how to be a better person.
You may find that in disciplining with love that you also learn a lot from different experiences you have with your child. It will teach you how to check yourself and reflect on how your child perceives you.
Disciplining with love is a great way of redirecting and guiding your love with care rather than with fear.
If you’re looking to incorporate a more positive parenting approach, the points above may be able to help you implement an approach that helps to create lasting positive results from disciplining with love and care.
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