I know that I am not the perfect mother, in fact there have been plenty of days when I have thrown worse wobblies than my kids. I’m certainly not going to beat myself up here though, I am sure that I am not alone in being tired and strung out looking after my kids.
However the last few months have been really tough and it has been quite the learning curve trying to figure out how to discipline my kids in an effective way.
What I have found with my parenting journey is that things will be great for a while and suddenly everything just gets hard and I struggle. It is then that I have to take a step back and really evaluate what is happening and change my game plan. I need to learn to adapt and adjust my parenting technique to fit the stage that my children are at.
About two months ago I found myself looking at a three year old and a five year old and wondering what it is that I am doing wrong, why do my children not listen to me at all? How come I am repeating the same thing over and over again with no results?
I had to take a hard look at what I was doing and make some changes. It really is amazing looking back now to see that the changes I made have made a huge impact in such a short space of time.
Here are some things that I think are really important and will help you to discipline your children in the best possible way.
1 Positive Parenting
I think this is the most important thing for me. I need to remember to always parent with love and remember that my children need attention.
The thing is that children will go for any attention that they can get and if they are only managing to get negative attention that is what they will go for. This does not help anyone’s situation does it?
It is vital to ensure that each child gets some special one on one time every single day. It does not have to be a long time but it must be special. I have started calling this time special time and making sure my child knows that nobody is allowed to interrupt our special time together.
After my child has had a bath I get out my cream and give my child a quick massage. Then we read a story together and we talk for a few minutes before bed time. Yes I have always read a bed time story to my kids, but I believe my mindset was a bit different.
Previously I was anxious to get my kids into bed after a long day, looking forward to my coffee and a bit of peace and quiet. Ok so I won’t lie, I still look forward to that time!
But now I don’t rush this special time with each child and they can tell the difference.
The result is that my kids go to bed happier and more relaxed after a nice massage and some special talk time. In addition to that, no matter what happens during the day my kids always know that they will get their moment alone with me and this makes them happier and not so attention seeking.
They are also sleeping better which in turn means that I am more rested since I get a good nights sleep.
It is also important to recognize when my children behave in a positive way and let them know that I have noticed, and highlight these things as much as possible.
Reward charts are excellent for this!
My children always try and please me so when I reward their positive behavior by acknowledging it they love it.
2 What is the Purpose of Discipline?
Discipline is about teaching my children. There are two aspects to this. I need to teach my children that there are consequences to their actions, so if they break a rule or do something they shouldn’t be doing there will be a consequence to it.
It is also about teaching them how to behave.
Discipline is not about punishment and that is something I try to make clear to my children. So any way that I decide to discipline my children should be as a consequence of their actions and not as a punishment for doing wrong.
Our job as a parent is to guide our children and show them the right way.
3 Consistency is Key
Consistency is something I have always found hard. My mom has always told me to be consistent with my children and asks me whether I have achieved it. My answer have often been that yes I am consistent, except when I am tired, or when I am trying to get something done….
Ok so not that consistent right?
I have recently started being very consistent and I have to admit that it is paying off. It is important for my kids to know that if they do something they will get a consequence and they know what it is.
This actually provides a nice safe boundary for them to grow and learn.
As mentioned already, discipline is about teaching your child so it is important that the consequence is related to what your child has done.
It is pointless to give a completely unrelated consequence because it won’t teach your child anything about what he or she did wrong.
My children have taught me how to be more patient and it has not always been an easy thing for me. I have to constantly remind myself to be patient with my children.
I find that the moment I start getting short tempered and impatient everything goes pear shaped. I have also found that when I start getting impatient my kids start to mimic my behavior. Children learn mostly from what you do, not from what you tell them to do.
Be patient, kind and loving with them and that is what they will learn.
The days that I am able to keep my patience in check are the days that I get to really enjoy my children and have fun with them.
And that is what it is all about isn’t it? Enjoying your children and having fun with them!
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