How many times have you heard a parent yell at their child?
"Get down here NOW!"
"Max is never late for school. Can't you be more like him?"
"How many times have I asked you to do this? Is your brain working properly?"
Every parent wants their child to behave well and succeed.
But sometimes, even the most well-meaning parents may use unhealthy strategies that can harm their child.
Mindfully choosing healthy strategies can help your child's development and create stronger relationships in your family.
Healthy discipline helps your child learn and grow, while still making them feel safe, secure, and loved.
Has the goal of helping your child learn
Identifies issues with a behaviour, not the actual child
Helps your child understand why they should or shouldn't do something
Is consistent - there are clear expectations around rules and consequences
What might healthy discipline lead to?
More acting out
Unhealthy discipline may place blame on the child, making them feel bad or unworthy as a result. Even if it's unintentional, the child is still negatively impacted.
Focuses on punishing, not teaching
Demonizes the child, not the behaviour
Transfers the parent's feelings (anger, frustration, insecurity) to the child
Dina sees her son Omar climbing the fence to their neighbours yard. The neighbours have complained before. Dina has spoken to Omar about this before and he had agreed to stop.
Dina takes a breath to calm herself before talking to Omar.
What would be a healthy way for Dina to discipline Omar?
Ask Omar what he will do next
Give Omar a chance to explain
Have Omar say why he shouldn't climb it
All of these
Patterns Of Behaviour
Just like any other habit, the way you discipline your child will become a pattern.
Unhealthy discipline becomes a cycle. Your child may even start mimicking your behaviour. So if they're used to getting yelled at or called names, before long, they may start yelling back.
The same goes for healthy discipline. When rules are set and enforced consistently and calmly, children will know when they have broken them, and may take steps to correct their behaviour.
What parts of your current disciplinary approach are healthy? What parts are unhealthy?
The next time your child acts out, take a moment before you respond.
Ask yourself: how can I respond in a healthy way?
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