When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he’s doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911.
– Erma Bombeck
Children draw on the walls with crayon (fun!), dart into the street (run!), and take toys away from other children (mine!) because by their very nature they lack judgment, are impulsive and ego-centric. While considered normal behavior, it’s not necessarily appropriate behavior and stopping it can be challenging.
When I was a new parent and my children misbehaved, I struggled with:
- “Do I show my anger or keep it in?”
- “Do I dole out the same rules for my 3-year-old as I do for my 5-year-old?”
- “What do I do when my partner says ‘No’ and I say ‘Yes’?”
- “How do I establish fair rules and consequences?”
- “What does it mean to ‘choose my battles’?”
Heck, I was so confused I sometimes wasn’t even sure what inappropriate behavior was! But I knew I needed help in learning how to set limits in a way that maintained my sanity and my relationship with my kids.
Discipline is essential in raising children who are responsible, respectful, caring, and resilient. But there is no one magic “discipline” formula because there are so many factors that come into play: the age and stage of the child, the health and temperament of the child (and the parent), the background and values of the family, and so on. So short of calling 911, how do we discipline in a healthy and effective manner?
One concept that helped me with my kids was learning that the point of discipline is to teach my children what they needed to know to get by in life. So when my daughter hit her big brother, I realized that she needed to learn how to use her words when she was angry.
If you want help answering your own disicpline questions, click here to learn more.