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Discipline the child, not yourself seems like a simple thing, right? But how often have you doled out punishment and realized that you have created more work for yourself than the child?
“No television for a week,” you say in a stern voice assuming this is the best punishment. After lunch, when he normally would have had an hour to watch television, you now realize you do not have that hour to do what you had planned on doing. Or perhaps you grounded a child from going somewhere and now you have to stay home as well. Who did you really give the punishment too, him or you?
It is more important that we make a discipline fit the crime, but we also need to stop and consider if what we pick to be the discipline will be too hard for you to follow through with. We also have the right and should at least stop to consider what our options are before we dole out discipline to see if we can make it fit the crime and not cause us undue stress as well. There will be times you will just have to endure the extra time and/or stress it might put on your life to ensure the discipline is carried because it is much more important to teach the lesson than it is for us to have a convenient punishment.
I cannot stress this next part enough so please know that the number one thing your child must never know is if the punishment is inconvenient for you. Chances are they will try and use that against you to get out of the punishment. Because you are human and have human weaknesses, allowing them to use the inconvenience to their advantage might actually work. Let’s face it, if you have had a hard day or you are overtired you might be tempted to just give in. We have all done it.
It is important that when you are setting disciplines that the discipline should fit the crime. But more importantly, you must also take into consideration the personality of the child. My one daughter that I talk about in the article “Be a fair parent” hated waiting to find out what the punishment was. I would send her to her room or downstairs to the basement to wait and find out what I would come up with. Most of the time I did this so that I could cool down and think rationally. I later found out this was a bigger punishment than the actual punishment so I learned to use this discipline for her as it worked better than what I could dole out after. She was not aware that after I figured this out I didn’t make the punishments too harsh, and I knew she had already been punished enough.
My second son was very active and extremely interactive, so putting him in his room for a time out was the best thing for his personality. Not allowing him to talk to us and having nothing to do or play with as his room had no toys in it was effective for him. I have since learned, “What is a bedroom for”, so learned making his time out in the corner was a much better idea. My youngest daughter was quiet and withdrawn, but she loves approval. Her knowing she disappointed me was usually punishment enough for her.
My oldest child was the hardest. Probably because I was not experienced enough to even know to look for a punishment that would fit the crime and personality. I struggled a while before I got a handle on this one. When I figured out that his biggest joy was to spend time with me, especially after the other children came along, not allowing him to have his special time with me was a very suitable punishment for him. Although painful for me to see his disappointment, it was the most effective way to discipline him. However as some readers pointed out to me, this is not the best idea especially if you are going to do this for long periods of time. I was fortunate to only have to use this a couple of times. I would not have continued on using this if it had to be used a lot.
Another point to be made is that as time goes on your choices of discipline will probably change as your children will change. So be flexible and as your children grow, allow yourself to grow. Although not everything other people use will be a good fit for you and your family, it is worth getting advice from others to see if they have anything new you have not tried. We all can help each other in this struggle to be good parents.
There are two primary thoughts here: First, know your children, what makes them tick, why they do the things they do and you will learn quickly which discipline will be best suited for their personality. Second, you also need to remember not to make the punishment too hard or too lenient and try hard not to make it too extreme for you to follow through with.
Raising children is hard work, let’s stop and think about ways of making it easier to accomplish the proper goals.
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