Children need discipline. We all should agree. It is parents’ responsibility to teach them tell wrong from right. But it doesn’t mean being cruel to them. Have you ever wondered how “timeouts” are translated into your children’s vulnerable minds, then into their behavior? Will not showing respect, appreciation, and understanding for your child turn him into respectful, confident, empathetic person? Probably not.
This article written by Sarah Ockwell-Smith, the author of Gentle Discipline: Using Emotional Connection—Not Punishment—to Raise Confident, Capable Kids, shows a positive alternative to popular discipline methods like punishment and timeouts. All five ways to discipline your kid listed below are centered around the fragile inner world of our children and focus on our unconditional love, building a deep connection and our capability to deal with our own behavior and emotions:
1. Reframe your expectations
It is really not reasonable to expect your kid to behave like an adult. Kids are not little adults. They are kids. Unable to control their emotions, unable to speak their feeling the way we do. Even adults are not able to effectively communicate their emotions all the time.
Instead of ordering timeouts, embrace time-ins. Time-in means keeping calm, sharing your calmness with your child while waiting for the storm to pass and keeping your child and others safe. You can use phrases like “I don’t like what you did, but I love you, and I’m here to help you to calm down.” Then, you can talk and connect.
3. Role modeling.
Your own behavior influences your child’s reactions. If you want to raise calm, kind, and loving individuals, you must model these qualities yourself.
4. Be creative.
Give your child time to calm down first. If you want to teach your kid morals after a situation has occurred, avoid lectures. Compose a story together that tells about the emotions he or she had recently experienced that triggered unacceptable behavior. Role play, try to imply there is an alternative way to react in such a situation.
5. Create a calm-down corner.
Choose a quiet corner in your home and make it cozy with soft rugs, warm lights, inspiring kids’ books. Encourage your kids to go there each time they feel emotions overflowing that might make them say or do something they will later be sorry for.
Imagine this: You’ve had a tough day at work, your boss has been unreasonable, your colleague has been rude. You had a fight with your mom. You can’t wait to get home and tell your partner about your stressful day. You want them to listen to you, empathize, and offer comfort.