Discipline is a very important part of parenting. Parents will find a great deal of material written on this topic from which to develop their own style of discipline with their child. No matter what method you use, however, healthy discipline strategies have these goals in common:
- Protect the child from danger.
- Teach self-control and self-discipline.
- Teach a sense of responsibility.
- Help instill the values of the family, culture and faith.
Below are parenting tips common to most discipline methods used by parents. Adopt those strategies that work best for you.
Some Tips for Parents:
- Give all children reasonable, limited choices based on their age and ability to make decisions. Be clear and consistent in establishing limits and boundaries for your child's behavior -- these include curfews, study hours, behavior at parties, driving, and expectations for special family events.
- Your rules don't have to be the same ones other parents have, but they do need to be clear and consistent. If two parents are raising a child, both need to use the same rules. Also, make sure baby sitters and relatives know, and follow, your family rules.
- Be clear about the consequences of unacceptable behavior. If a child does step out of bounds, make sure you follow through with those consequences.
- Provide order in a child's life. Keep a regular schedule of meals, naps and bedtimes. If you have to change the schedule, tell them about the changes ahead of time.
- Show your love. Every day, tell your children: "I love you. You're special to me." Give lots of hugs and kisses.
- Praise your children. When your children learn something new or behave well, tell them you're proud of them.
- Make your children feel safe. Comfort them when they're scared. Show them you've taken steps to protect them.
- Be patient. No one said parenting was easy!
- Set a good example. Children learn by watching.
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I love my children, but being a parent can be so hard! Familydoctor.org, Academy of Family Physicians. Accessed March 2010.