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?"

Photo by Zahra Amiri on UnsplashPhoto by Zahra Amiri on Unsplash

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

Healthy discipline helps your child learn and grow, while still making them feel safe, secure, and loved.

Healthy discipline:

  • 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

Quiz

What might healthy discipline lead to?

Bribery

Parental favouritism

Parent-child trust

More acting out

Unhealthy Discipline

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.

Unhealthy discipline:

  • Focuses on punishing, not teaching

  • Demonizes the child, not the behaviour

  • Transfers the parent's feelings (anger, frustration, insecurity) to the child

Meet Dina

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.

Photo by Zahra Amiri on UnsplashPhoto by Zahra Amiri on Unsplash

Dina takes a breath to calm herself before talking to Omar.

Quiz

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.

Byte Author Uploaded Image

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.

Summary

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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This Byte has been authored by

LK

Lisa Kale

MEL Educator at Skateistan South Africa

AD

Ashwyne Dames

Educator and coach

MT

Mohlomi Tsotsotso

Mohlomi TJ Tsotsotso

WN

Wendy Ngwenya

Educator at Skateistan South Africa

SM

Sibonginkosi Mncube

Skateboarding instructor