• Josina Miles

3 Uncommon Ways of Disciplining Your Children

Discipline is synonymous with training your child. Well-trained children are obedient, respectful and exhibit more confidence. Untrained children are disrespectful, uncooperative and may exhibit combative behaviors. Single Mothers are more prone to having dysfunctional children because of potential psychological issues stemming from a broken home or not being taught discipline consistently.

Don't Give Them Everything You Never Had

An approach to disciplining kids is not by what you do, but what you don't do. Some parents developed the idea that besides providing the basics: food; clothing; and shelter, they also need to give their children everything they never had growing up. This could take many forms. However, it's most expressed in expensive name brand clothing, accessories, electronics, toys, etc. Their kids get anything their heart's desire and they're never deprived of anything. Is this necessary? And is it really an expression of love? It's understandable that some parents may have felt deprived while growing up. They had to endure watching their friends or even other family members having more stuff than them. Also, depending on your age your kids may have access to things you never had access to in your childhood.

It's important that we realize that children are dependents for the first 18 years of their lives. We're responsible for providing everything they need until they're old enough to provide for themselves. The problem today is that there are a lot of adults who've never outgrown the dependency phase. Children should learn as early as possible that they're not entitled to constant rewards only because they exist.

It's tempting to want to give our children whatever they want when you're a single parent. It's a pacifier that soothes their real desires (love and attention), while we're busy holding everything together. We believe that we're meeting their needs because we feel that they're not being deprived of anything. In reality, we're doing a lot of psychological damage. They expect things for no special reason and if you don't meet those expectations regularly, they may become agitated or hostile. It creates the proverbial monster. Have you ever heard the line? "You always say no", even if it happens rarely. To eradicate the monster, they need to get used to hearing the word 'no' equally as 'yes.' By not spoiling them, they'll learn to value what they already have and appreciate anything new they're given. Gifts will become an unexpected surprise as opposed to something they expect.

Don't Tolerate Disrespect

Just before the toddler years, we erect gates and barriers around the house; in front of kitchen doors, at the top and bottom of stairs and basements to avoid accidents. Although, preventing accidents is not always possible. Each one of my children has fallen down the stairs, several times around 1 - 2 years old. We need to set barriers or boundaries in training our kids on how to behave. Since it's easier for children to learn new languages when they're very young, it's easier to set boundaries and have them respect them as soon as possible. Most kid's first word is 'no'. They learn to say no quicker because it's the word they hear most often. Often it's being said as a deterrent rather than a punishment. If we wait until they're of school age to set boundaries, it may be too late. Teachers need to recondition them and it won't be a smooth transition.

We're busy mothers. As a result, we like to put things off until it's necessary. A child lacking discipline can lead to some embarrassing moments. For example, if a child learns that screaming at the register will get them the bag of gummy bears every time, they'll do it every time. If we give them the bag of gummy bears, they will stop screaming and whining while we’re trying the pay the cashier and stop the perception that you’re incapable of controlling your child. If we say no and let them screen, we delay gratification and train We delay discipline and encourage bad behaviors to avoid the work it takes to discipline a child. However, delayed reactions will cause them believing that they're in control and not you, resulting in many embarrassing moments.

When we do not set or enforce rules from an early stage, kids won't know that there are boundaries that they cannot cross. We may handle these little issues that come up at home with more compassion, but it becomes problematic when they're in school. Teachers may not be as compassionate as we are as parents and they get the impression that our children have not training or is being neglected at home. To avoid those disruptive and embarrassing phone calls from the school, we need to ensure that they adhere to the rules set at home so that there won't be a surprise when they start school and realize that they have rules.

Another reason it's important to set rules and stick to it is that you don't want to risk the chance of losing their respect. In their minds, they're in control, and if they feel that they can push you around or try to manipulate you, they will. It's normal for children to test the boundaries and try to circumvent the rules, so it's important not waver or be wishy-washy when they test the limits. One or the worse things you can do as a parent is spoil your child. You know that your child being needs more training when they make demands and expect you to jump at their commands. They get combative with you by arguing back and not respecting you as an authority figure.

Don't Be Too Friendly

We love our children so we naturally want our kids to like us as people. Have you ever said to them "I'm your mother not your friend!" I say that I'd rather my kids dislike me now than resent me later. Your job as a mother is not to be their friend but to make sure they're on track to being the best versions of themselves. We must strive to live a life of little regrets and making your kids your friend too soon is something you might regret down the road.

You can mislead a child into thinking your their friend by telling them too much. They need not know about all the problems you're going through at work, with friendships and relationships. This can blur the lines between parent and child creating a confusing dynamic. When you are ready to discipline and dispel punishment, you will get resistance thinking you're on the same level.

They may start with-holding information from you that may be important, such as problems with school or even their relationships with friends. They may not feel comfortable confiding in you because they may not trust that you will help them resolve their issues. Some children may even feel like they're raising themselves.

Once you've crossed the line from parent/child relationship to friendship, it may be difficult to regain control and could lead to bigger problems down the road. Children rely on consistency and well-defined boundaries to feel safe and stable. They need to know that parents are their protectors and their role models.

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