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.