Parenting is a journey filled with excitement, joy, emotions and lots of surprises. You get to learn a great deal of stuff and discover new secrets each day; it’s like you grow and develop with your children. It would be an understatement to stay that the responsibilities parents bear on their shoulders are exhausting. From compromising on their sleep and desires to fulfilling all our demands they sure do a lot.
Parents are role models for the children, but that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t make a mistake as a parent. We human beings are susceptible to making mistakes; the chances increase when our emotions clutter our mind and decision-making abilities.
Of course, parents also tend to stress out; at times they may take it out on their children. Disciplining your child is a challenging task as it plays a primary role in forming their personality. It teaches them valuable skills such as compassion, respect & cooperation and is the foundation for good behavior.
An essential thing to keep in mind is that disciplining doesn’t mean having to scold or punish your child. It means teaching them the ability to choose the right path, to be able to distinguish between right and wrong. There are moments when instead of focusing on instilling the right behaviors we may end up taking out our emotions and scolding or punishing. So an essential part of disciplining is controlling our feelings and setting the correct parameters. This was just one example; there are various other dos and don’ts for raising well-mannered kids. Here are a few of those golden rules that can help you out at different stages of your children’s lives:
Consistency is Important
What we as parents need to understand is that, children don’t know how to distinguish between what is right or wrong. You need to patiently and firmly teach your child what type of behavior is acceptable and what isn’t. For instance, there is something that annoys you, but you let it go for a while and suddenly have an outburst. Your child won’t realize why it happened and which behavior triggered your anger, it will confuse them more. Establish rules and stand by them at all times, you can’t break these rules even if you want to.
Connect with Your Children
If your kid makes a mistake or is acting out, don’t lose your temper and stay calm. Instead of resorting to shouting, yelling or showing disappointment, try to connect with them. Hug them and try to find out the reason behind their behaviors. Your kids count on your for emotional support & love so when they are having a meltdown, console them instead of arguing. Letting your kids confide in you will improve your relationship and develop a sense of trust within your child. After they are over the phase, you can find a solution together.
Reward Good Behaviors
It is essential to praise your child when they display good behavior. Rewards and appreciation play a significant role in enforcing positive actions. It will also boost your kid’s self-esteem, confidence and their ability to recognize what should and should not be done.
Set Clear Boundaries
You need to be very specific about the rules you set for your children. One thing to keep in mind is to be realistic. You can’t expect a toddler to act like a preschooler or a preschooler to act like an adolescent, so set age-appropriate boundaries. For instance, if your 2-year-old finds throwing stuff fun, chances are they will keep doing it, so you have to choose your battles wisely. If the behavior is harmless instead of fighting over it, just get it out of your children’s way. Instead of continually denying everything to your kid, prioritize situations and act accordingly. It will make it easy for your child to follow through and will be a lot less hectic for you.
Be the Role Model
You know what they say “practice what you preach.” It is crucial for parents as their children consider them role models. To set an example for your kids, you will have to follow the rules you set for them and if you make a mistake, accept it. There is no harm in apologizing to your children. Instead, they will learn that if something goes wrong, there is nothing to be ashamed about. Similarly, if you want to teach them kindness, be polite yourself. Use words like please, thank you and praise them when they follow suit.
Don’t Yell or Spank
Many parents today are fully aware of the consequences yelling and spanking can have on the child’s personality. Still, some people resort to these ineffective discipline methodologies. You may be frustrated, you may have had a day, and I agree that parenting is an exhausting job, yet there is no excuse for hitting your child. Research also reveals that children who are spanked or yelled at in their childhood have higher chances of being depressed and having behavioral issues. Now as a human being it is almost impossible to never shout at our kids. Since many of us barely get a few hours of quality sleep and exhaust ourselves, we do have our moments of weakness. But it is important not to be verbally abusive; you can raise your voice a bit but focus on communicating the message.
Don’t Label Your Children
There are times when your kids act out, and you react by labeling them things like naughty, rude or lazy. What you may not know is that you are damaging your child’s personality by calling them such names. They will believe the labels and it may either shatter their confidence or make them reluctant to make any improvements. Call out the wrong behavior instead, comment on their mistakes and take corrective measures.
Don’t Give Empty Threats
I have seen parents who threaten their children with warnings and consequences that even the children know they won’t be acting on. Your child may fear it the first time but since children, these days are smarter then we think, they will know that these are empty threats. It will also set a bad example for your kids so only say things to your kids that you mean to do.
Kelly Newman is a Fitness Trainer and blogger. She loves to write about everything related to fitness and diet and wants to help people adopt a healthier lifestyle. She works with the team behind Health Listed and does extensive research to provide people actionable health and nutrition information.
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Also published on Medium.