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9 Keys To Effective Discipline

By: 2000 The Positive Line

Point Out Positive Behavior

Observe when your child is being cooperative, responsible, etc. Praise the good job he or she is doing. This will encourage your child to continue the good behavior.

Call A Timeout

If a child continues to break rules, remove him or her from the rest of the family until the child is ready to accept the rules. The best place for a timeout is an area that is not pleasurable for the child. This works best for younger children.

Make A Contract

It often helps to put agreements in writing when dealing with an older child or adolescent. That way, both parents and child are reminded of what they said they would be willing to do.

Show You Care

Hug and kiss your child, say "I love you" often, and praise your child for things he or she does well. Children who feel loved are more willing to repeat positive behavior and quickly correct misbehavior.B

Be Respectful

Convey respect for your child by your words, tone of voice and body posture. Always focus on the behavior, not the child. There is a difference between calmly telling a child to finish his or her homework before watching TV, and angrily saying, "You never do your homework unless I tell you."

Offer Choices

Children generally respond better to being given choices than to receiving commands. But be sure that you can live with the choices you offer and that they do not endanger the child's health or welfare.

Set A Good Example

Children learn from watching others, especially their parents or guardians. If you want your child to be ready on time, don't be late. If you want your child to be polite, you should be polite to others, including your child.

Listen Carefully

Children deserve to be heard. Let your child express his or her thoughts and feelings about the best discipline. By being willing to listen and compromise in certain areas, you will set the stage for your child to accept decisions when no compromise is possible.

Present A United Front

Parents-whether married or divorced-can help each other by working out agreements about how to handle discipline in specific situations before these situations arise.

Follow Through

If a child is supposed to lose a privilege or expect a consequence because of some action, be sure this happens. If you feel sorry for your child and reinstate the privilege or drop the consequence, your child will learn that your word doesn't mean much. Your child will also not learn from the consequences of his or her action.

Be Prompt And Consistent

Act as soon as possible so your child associates the misbehavior with its consequence. Use one basic approach for discipline. Offering choices one day and simply imposing consequences without any choices another day can confuse and frustrate a child.

Take Appropriate Action

Fit the consequences to the misbehavior. If your child paints on the wall, have him or her clean it off. If apologies are in order, have your child make them. And if you must scold your child, be brief and to the point. Children stop listening if scolding goes on too long.

I won custody of my son because my son needed me to!
  -- David A. - Dallas, TX

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