Last week we had our Aspire Parent group discussion where we talked about discipline.
We had 20 parents come with their children to discuss this topic. The questions asked were: "What do you do when you have two different parenting styles between you and your spouse/caregiver? What suggestions do you have for other parents regarding discipline?" I'll list what our parents discussed and then provide some research on discipline from Dr. Brazelton.
Tips/Ideas from our parents:
- Find common ground between each other first.
- Recognize that you both want to do whats best for the child, you have their best interest.
- Communicate with spouse/caregiver often.
- Establish rules ahead of time. Determine the consequences for specific actions and let your children know what those consequences are.
- Keep the rules simple.
- Make sure to establish rules at different places, i.e. grandparents homes, school, friends homes and your home.
- Redirect younger children (those who have't reached a disciplinary age) to other good activities when they act out.
- One parent has twins, when her daughters are fighting over the same toy she puts the toy on time out. She removes the fighting agent from the equation.
- Overall, be consistent. Children need consistency in order to follow rules. They need to know you are serious.
Discipline means "Teaching"
Positive discipline guidelines from Dr. Brazelton:
- Fit the discipline to the child's state of development. For infants and toddlers, try first to divert her to another activity, you may need to remove her bodily. For a child over two years, discipline should always include explanation. Try to figure out what triggered the child's aggressive behavior and give them a chance to understand themselves.
- When your child is with other children, try not to hover. See if they can learn from eachother. When you add yourself to the equation the situation changes from a simple one to a complicated one where half of your childs behavior is aimed at you.
- Model behaviors for your child. They will watch and learn.
- After the discipline is over, help them explain what its all about.
- Use a time-out, but only for a brief period.
- Pick the child up to love them afterward. This is hard to do, but critical. Hug them and rock them, let them know you love them and that you understand that it's hard to learn self-control. Say, "I love you, but I can't let you behave this way. When you learn to stop yourself, I won't have to anymore."