Discipline even with young children is necessary, or you will have unruly children to deal with. They must learn right from wrong, but it is better to approach discipline in a caring consistent but firm way. decide what is unacceptable to you and don’t tolerate it. You are the adult don’t let your child run the household, even if their misbehavior is cute or funny, don’t laugh at them or they will enjoy the attention and the behaviour will escalate. You will find some suggestions for preventing tantrums, begin the either of method from early days and you should find it a great help.
Parents that lose control, shouting or swearing at their children are going to struggle with discipline, learn to stay calm rather than getting angry. They are setting very bad examples and as their child grows they will lose respect. The child will think that is usual parenting behaviour and will treat their children in a similar fashion thus recycling this unsuccessful parenting.
The either or method is a great way or dealing with resistance from young children, by offering your choice of two alternatives. For example which sock shall we put on first the left or the right? Which spoon shall we use the blue one or the shinny one? Young children want to show their independence and feel frustrated but do not have the language skills to explain so therefore throw a tantrum. With practice this will help to prevent many situations. Make this a habit from early days.
Discipline begins with understanding your child, communicating with them with empathy in an atmosphere that they feel safe to discuss their thoughts and problems when they are big enough, or in the meantime, vent their feelings and anger safely. They must know you love them unconditionally whatever happens and feel safe. If in a fury your child declares” I hate you”, find out what is upsetting them and making them so angry. Understand they are frustrated about something; don’t let it push your buttons.
At this young age your child doesn’t know a better way to communicate their anger and frustration and may behave like a tornado. However they are secretly frightened by their emotions and need your help not anger, to calm down. I’m sure you have seen hysterical sobbing children in supermarkets, dragged along by harassed stressed embarrassed parents.
I have already mentioned the either or method of distracting and reducing conflict, it really is a time saver with little ones; if you get in the habit it becomes second nature and the laughter releases tensions and makes it fun. Stay calm whatever happens, and resist shouting. If you stay calm and softly spoken it will soothe the child and calm them down. If necessary take some deep breaths or count to ten. You are the adult; demonstrate controlling anger and your child will gradually learn to also.
If when you were growing up your parents shouted at you, you may think it is the best way of disciplining a child, I prefer a softer approach, but with firm boundaries and consistency. Keeping calm is a much more successful method and prevents a small incident from spiralling into a major event. It is important to set boundaries, which will change as your child grows. Older children can contribute ideas for rules and boundaries, if they feel listened to they are more likely to respect your wishes.
You are the adult and will have the final say. Be firm about things that are important to you and constant in your dealings. Children need to be clear on what is acceptable to you and what the boundaries are. Teaching your child to behave as you want them to by praising good behaviour not constant criticism, and leading by example; don’t shout swear or lose your temper, and be respectful to others, behave to others with caring empathy and your children will have good guidelines to follow.
If you want to see what goes on in a home, watch young children play “Mummy’s and Daddy’s”. This is a playschool favourite, you will be able to see the child’s home life acted out, with shouting or spanking or calm matter of fact action.