Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Hello from ECFE. Summer is coming, for some of us that could mean spending more time with our children. Wouldn't it be nice if we could have a more peaceful time with them? Let's talk about discipline and rules that can work for you with your children. Discipline is more that punishment for misbehavior. It is the means by which we teach our children good conduct now and for the future. Every mistake a child makes can become an opportunity for new learning.
Accentuate the positive - Let your child know you appreciate her doing things that are important to you. For example, thank her for helping you keep the house neat by picking up her toys and clothes. If she forgets, gently remind her that it makes your work harder when you have to do all the work yourself. And ask for her help. Minimize the negative - Pay more attention to the things your child does well than to her mistakes. Without thinking, we often take for granted those behaviors of others that please us. Then we exaggerate out of proportion the things they do wrong. This approach can backfire, however, because children tend to repeat those behaviors that get the most attention. For example, the more you ask your child to stop an annoying habit such as playing with her food, the more she may do it. Try ignoring it instead. Then, when you notice her eating neatly, compliment her. It won't take long before you begin to see a change. Explain your expectations - Let you child know what you expect of him. Try to keep your expectations fair, reasonable, and sensible. Explain them to him. If he knows what you expect of him, it will be easier for him to please you and avoid your disapproval. You will prevent unnecessary misunderstandings and hurt feelings. For example, explain that you expect him to be in bed by a time that is acceptable to you. Let him know that he can lie in bed quietly for a time before going to sleep. Offer to read or tell him a story. Or just talk with him during that time if he wishes. But explain that you will not want to spend the time with him if you have to remind him several times every night that it is time to go to bed. Let him know what you expect as well as what he can expect when he does not fulfill his part of the bargain. Be consistent - Decide what is important to you. Then try to be consistent in your expectations and responses. For example, suppose you set up a rule that you do not want your child playing on the living room sofa with his shoes on. Don't let him do it one day when you are feeling good and yell at him the next day because he's getting on your nerves. Try to remind him, gently but firmly, that you do not want him to do it. Ask him to leave the living room until he can do as you ask. Thank him when he remembers to take off his shoes. It's not always easy to behave toward our children, as we would want. Try to accept yourself as you are, and do the best you can. No one can be kind, considerate, fair, patient, and respectful all the time. Be as understanding of yourself as you try to be of your child. Just by trying you will succeed. And your child will learn from your example. Make a great week with your kids. Maggie Lundorff