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Discipline Mistakes Most Parents Make

Baba- GrandmaBeing a grandmother (BABA in Ukrainian, or BABCIA in Polish) is such a rewarding experience, since you have lots of fun with your grandchildren, without being the firm disciplinarian you once were as a mother to your own children.

Of course, I try to follow the parent’s rules, as not to cause too much confusion for the grandchild, but I am much more relaxed with these rules, and try compromising to achieve the needed results.

Another grandma shared a link with me to a wonderful article about disciplining children, and how often parents use the wrong approach in disciplining their children, which compelled me to share it with all of you.

Also, there are several references to great parenting books, which would make a perfect gift for new parents.

Parents advisor Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions.

According to her, there are patterns to behavior.

Kids do the same things when they’re tired, hungry, or getting fed up;

it’s up to adults to take note and adjust accordingly.
Ignoring a kid’s signs is one of many discipline mistakes parents make all the time.

We’re too negative.

“Don’t hit your sister!” “Stop pulling the dog’s tail!”

The number of things you tell your toddler or preschooler not to do is endless.

THE FIX: Ask for the behavior you want to see.

“Parents say ‘no’ so frequently that kids become deaf to it — and the word loses its power,”
Save the nay saying for truly dangerous situations , and focus on telling kids how you would like them to behave.
For example, instead of,
“No standing in the bathtub!”
“We sit down in the bathtub, because it’s slippery.”

We expect too much from our kids.
As soon as you shush him, he does it again.  Why doesn’t he listen?

THE FIX : Play teacher.

When your child breaks a norm, remind yourself that
he isn’t trying to be a pain — he just doesn’t know how to act in the situation,
so snapping isn’t effective (or fair).

Kids are born mimics, so modeling or drawing attention to something we want them to do goes a long way.

It takes time and repetition for kids to learn to handle themselves,”

We model behavior we don’t want to see.

When you drop something, you yell.

A man cuts you off and you call him a rude name.

But then you get mad if your kid reacts the same way when things don’t go her way.

THE FIX Apologize and take a do-over

We use time-out ineffectively.
When you send your 3-year-old to his room after he hits his brother, he starts banging his head on the floor in rage.

THE FIX: Consider a time-in

A time-out is meant to be a chance for a child to calm down, not a punishment.
Some kids respond well to the suggestion that they go to a quiet room until they’re chill.
But others view it as a rejection, and it riles them up.

Plus, it doesn’t teach kids how you want them to behave.

Take a “time-in,” where you sit quietly with your kid.

If he’s very upset,
hold him to get him settled down.
Once he’s relaxed,
calmly explain why the behavior wasn’t okay.

Too angry to comfort him?

Put yourself in time-out;
once you’ve relaxed,
discuss what you would like your child to do differently.
We intervene when our kids simply annoy us.
You hear your children chasing each other around the house and immediately shout.

THE FIXIgnore selectively.

Keep in mind that children sometimes do things that are irksome because they’re exploring new skills.
Other times, they’re seeking attention.
When safety isn’t an issue, try watchful waiting.

We’re all talk and no action.

“Turn off the TV… I’m serious this time… Really!” Your kids continue bad behavior when warnings are vague, for the same reason you run yellow lights — there aren’t consequences.

THE FIX Set limits and follow through.

Start with respectful directives.
If she follows through, thank her.
If not, give a consequence

We assume what works for one kid will work for another.

THE FIX Develop a diverse toolbox.

Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions.

  • Linda Sonna, Ph.D., author of The Everything Toddler Book
  • Devra Renner, co-author of Mommy Guilt.
  • Robert MacKenzie, Ph.D., author of Setting Limits With Your Strong-Willed Child.

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