For those of us who have children or are planning to have children in the future, it’s so important to have a clue about good parenting techniques so we can teach our kids the right morals and values. After all, nobody wants to raise spoiled kids who become rude and out of control to the point where their parents can’t get a handle on them.
For those of you who have gone through it already, I don’t have to tell many of you how frustrating and stressful it can be to raise a child. Good parenting skills are something you can easily learn and the best way is to start by avoiding the most common mistakes that can sabotage your efforts to avoid raising a “Little Johnny” or a “Little Pepito!”
Here are the 5 most common things you shouldn’t do while disciplining your child:
1. Not practicing what you preach. How in the world do you expect your children to obey you when you are not following the rules you set forth in your household? For example, if you tell your kids they need to keep their room clean and your room is an absolute mess, it opens the door for them to question and disrespect you in the long run. Another example can be something as simple as casually telling little white lies to get out of certain situations while in their presence. As an adult, you can substantiate why you would tell a white lie such as not wanting to hurt someone but a child doesn’t usually have the capacity to understand your motive and consequentially learns how to lie to get out of difficult situations, from you!
2. Threatening or warning them and not following through. “Johnny, you better clean your room within the next hour or I’m not going to take you to Disney World next month.” C’mon, do you really think your child is going to believe this? By the time they are 5 or 6, most kids know an empty threat when they hear it. Worse yet, what if you don’t follow through and they challenge you? You will lose control a month later when your child boards your vehicle and pushes back the seat to sleep on the way to see Mickey Mouse, and he or she hasn’t cleaned their room lately! After a while, your threats will become meaningless. A much better approach is to offer realistic punishment and stick to your words because if you don’t, they will start to learn how many times they can challenge you before you cave in to their resistance.
3. Losing control of yourself. If you let your children see how their misbehavior is adversely affecting you, they will learn exactly what buttons they need to push to set you off into a tailspin. Effective parenting starts with self-composure, no matter how stressed or irritated you are. You don’t want your child to learn how to deal with difficult situations by “flying off the handle.” If you stay in control, your children will learn how to act in trying situations and they will take you seriously when you discipline them.
4. Bribing them with toys or treats. This sends them the wrong message for positive or negative behavior. Experts agree it’s better to highlight their good behavior and even tell them how proud you are of them regularly. At the same time, it’s important to admonish them for bad behavior as well; this teaches them to have a conscience!
5. Waiting far too long to follow through with discipline. This one is all too common and most parents are guilty of allowing their children to follow a certain rule on their own time instead of when they specify. This teaches kids a lack of discipline and it threatens to haunt us later in the form of resistance when we need to punish our children for something serious.
Parenting and discipline go hand in hand and most parents learn as they go because there is no definitive manual. However, it’s a mistake to not prepare yourself as a parent with as much information as possible to give yourself a head start in figuring out the best child discipline techniques to fit your family. You can do so easily with the many free tips scattered all over the Internet, much of which is highly useful as a starting point.
Grandparents usually get a good laugh when you tell them you are having trouble dealing with your child’s temper tantrums because they’ve already been there and done that, and they are also thinking it’s now your turn to deal with the same type of anguish you caused them years ago!
In order to learn how to deal with temper tantrums you must first understand why they occur in the first place; most toddlers don’t have the coping mechanism most of us have as adults in trying to voice displeasure and anger. That is, they can’t explain it the way they want to, so instead, they express themselves the only way they know how; by kicking, screaming, and carrying on.
Luckily, as a parent, you have many resources available in helping you deal with these episodes which are, to put it quite frankly, perfectly normal for little boys and girls.
Here’s how to handle temper tantrums and regain the control you once thought you had before they started:
- Be preventative. Start teaching your children how you want them to act when they are frustrated or angry. You can tell them when they start feeling frustrated or angry to say, “Will you please help me,” or to get your attention by calling out your name so you can attend to their needs right away. This one works wonders after a while because it can become an automatic response mechanism built into their little minds to replace their inability to communicate with words effectively. Once they get your attention, make sure you appear sincere in taking them seriously.
- Know what triggers the tantrums. Does your child freak out when he or she is hungry? Make certain you always carry your child’s favorite snacks. Does your kid hate it when you go on long road trips? Take an occasional break at a rest stop and offer comfort. If you know what sets them off, you stand a better chance of avoiding most temper tantrums through your diligence. A word of caution; don’t allow them to get their way if it’s the wrong thing to do, just to stop a tantrum.
- Use distraction techniques. For example, if your child refuses to get off the swing you can say something like, “Wow, look at what your sister (or brother) is doing over there on the slide. Let’s go see them and maybe we’ll go home and play with your (name a favorite) toy right after.”
- Remain calm and don’t let them see you are affected. Sometimes, children throw fits because they have already learned how to push your buttons. Resist the temptation to yell or spank, and instead, calmly reassure them you are there to help them with their frustration and their actions will not make the situation any better.
- Give them choices. When you start seeing them become upset you can issue a stern warning in a calm voice by saying something to the effect of, “Jenny, I see you are starting to get angry. If you are going to continue to behave this way, go up to your room right now until you have calmed down.” This way, your child has a choice and if he or she chooses to remain calm, reinforce their positive actions with a compliment on how well they have handled themselves.
What Do You Do If Nothing Works as Expected?
If your child is not responding at all and appears to be having the “king” of all tantrums, make sure he or she is not placed in a situation where they can hurt themselves or others and simply say you will be glad to help and talk about whatever is at issue after your child calms down. If you have to hold your child down to prevent injury, do so with as little force as necessary without showing any aggression. You may also want to consider removing your child from an area with other people so they don’t get hurt.
When Should I Consult With a Professional Regarding My Child’s Temper Tantrums?
If you suspect your child has some sort of developmental difficulty and is still having temper tantrums past the age of four, you may want to consult with a physician to consider your options. Additionally, if your child has been diagnosed with a developmental disability you should immediately consult with your physician and let him or her know exactly what your child is experiencing, regardless of their age.
It is a well-known fact amongst physicians that even perfectly normal adolescent children and adults may throw a fit of anger every now and then; this is not normal behavior and should be addressed and is usually caused by their inability to communicate and express their thoughts and needs effectively.
I had the pleasure of working with a couple of school resource police officers in my hometown recently and came away with some interesting information I believe may be helpful for parents.
Parents always want what’s best for their kids but when they get in the way of allowing a responsible school staff to effectively discipline their child for obvious bad behavior, that becomes a problem for the parent, the school, and most of all, the child.
As a parent of two children, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve witnessed some unbelievable parental displays in schools. I have seen parents express their displeasure by yelling and screaming in the face of an administrator more than a few times in my life. I have also witnessed mothers attack other students whom they believed were bullying or hurting their children in some way or another.
However, the worst and most detrimental thing I have seen is how some parents enable to their children to continue misbehaving and even committing crimes while in school. These parents mistakenly believe they are supposed to defend their children’s behavior even when they do something horrible wrong so they don’t receive outdoor suspension.
One of the officers told me a story about how he sat across the table from a mother who stressed how that the officer conducted an improper search of her child in the presence of an administrator because a crime watch student tipped them off that her son was in possession of marijuana.
The officer took the verbal abuse for a minute and a half or so then calmly asked the student, “Do you smoke marijuana?” The student replied,”Yes.” The mother didn’t know where to hide at this point but she continued trying to blame the school system as well as the police officers for not preventing her son from falling victim to predators in schools.
Are people really this ignorant? The officer says he then asked the child how long he had been smoking marijuana and the child said he had been smoking it for the last three years. It gets better, folks. The officer says he then asked the child if he smoked
marijuana regularly while at home and his reply was “yes.”
My question is this; how in the world can a parent not know their child is smoking marijuana when the odor is so strong that the paint starts peeling off the wall with its overpowering stench?
What about his grades? Apparently, he had gone from a B student to a straight F student within the course of two years. Yet, the mother appeared at school trying to blame everybody else except herself.
Wake up, parents! If your child does something wrong in school. at some point and time, you need to support the school and allow them to discipline your child for his or her own benefit. You are fooling yourself if you believe your child can do no wrong.
Even some of the best behaved children stray at some point in their lives due to peer influences or otherwise. That’s why schools have a support system in place that includes discipline. They have the best interest of the children at heart but they need parental support to help these children. It’s your job as a parent to not turn a blind eye and confront the problem head-on in order to protect your children.
Sadly, far too many parents allow their children to continue misbehaving and committing crimes while putting all the blame on someone else for their irresponsible parenting.
Do you know a parent who is an enabler?