Joe, a Play of the Day subscriber, wrote us saying, “Years ago, my sister (a department head at Harvard University) shared with me one of the most valuable tools I have for disciplining my 8-year-old daughter. Whatever the discipline is (no TV, no bike, etc.), I never say how long it will be for. I just tell her when I feel she deserves it, the discipline will be over. So, I don’t say, ‘No bike for a month,’ and after a week, feel bad and give it back. I just say, ‘No bike. You’ll get it back when I think you deserve it.’ This works great for me, and I also have no guilt to deal with when I calm down.” Great advice, Joe!
For more great insights like these, here are 10 ways to discipline your child.
1. The Do-Over
Everybody deserves a second chance, right? If your child has shown a lack of respect in some way, give them the option of a “do-over.” Send him out of the room, and have him start all over again. It gives him practice in treating others well.
2. Silence Is Golden
Sometimes it is hurtful words or it could be a loudness that disturbs the peace. Taking away the privilege to talk for a certain amount of time will calm kids down and give them time to think.Every single issue does not need to be a war.
3. Choosing Your Battles
Every single issue does not need to be a war. If you are constantly at odds with your child, she will eventually tune you out. Whether it is an outfit you don’t like, coming in a couple minutes after curfew, or other things small, it may be best to let it pass. Choose wisely which issues are important enough to tackle.
4. Taking a Breather
Sometimes we all need a “breather.” When voices start to get raised, continuing on that path will only worsen the matter. Send them to their room and create a cooling off period. Then approach them when everyone has calmed down, particularly you.
5. Using the Rod Rarely
“Spare the rod, spoil the child.” We all know this ancient wisdom, but it must be used with caution. Don’t do it in anger. It can be tough at times, but always keep your composure. If need be, take a walk before engaging. Have them sit on their bed and wait. Sometimes the waiting is worse than the actual spanking.
6. Natural Consequences
There is a school project your child has known about for two weeks. It is the night before it is due, and she is in a panic. You warned her a week ago not to wait until the last moment, but it happened anyway. She is now pleading for you to assist her. Do not help her and let her experience the result of her actions. The anxiety, loss of sleep, and bad grade will teach her to make better decisions next time.
7. The Take-Away
Every child has something near and dear to them. It is not underhanded for that item to come into play, if needed. Favorite stuffed animals, cell phones, gaming devices can all be used to your benefit. If your warnings have fallen on deaf ears, take an item away for a time and let your child once again learn that actions have consequences.
8. The Giveaway
For the most severe and perhaps repeat offenses, there is the giveaway. Take one of their favorite things and give it to Salvation Army or Goodwill. Have them physically hand it over.
Teach them that when we cross set boundaries or break laws, we lose freedoms. It may not be easy to tell your big, brown-eyed daughter she can’t go to the movies with her friends or to the school dance. Be strong and hold the line.
Become a student of your kids and their world. Then use insight in guiding them before problems occur. Talk openly with your kids on a daily basis. Reward the many great things they do. Support them with lots of love when they hit the mark and when they don’t. Building a high level of trust and understanding with your child will prevent a great deal of issues that would require a discipline tactic.
Sound off: What are some ways you discipline your child?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “Why do you think it’s important for a father to discipline his child?”