When Should We Begin to Discipline Our Children?

You know how excited you were when you baby begin to take their first steps or when they begin crawling. As your child begins to grow and get into everything you are probably beginning for the first time to think about introducing discipline. But when is the right time to start disciplining your child? You will definitely want to start while they are still young. This is a good time to instill the concept of right and wrong. Of course they will not fully understand for a while, you can begin to teach them by both example and by guidance. The following are a few tips that you will want to keep in mind, to help protect your baby, your home, and your own sanity.

1. Every child and family is different. So what applies to someone’s may not apply to you and your family.
2. Until an infant can really understand what is safe and what can be harmful, it is the responsibility of the parent to keep the environment safe.
3. If you withdraw your parental love you can threaten a child’s self-esteem. It is very important to let them know that you still love them, but you do not love their behavior.
4. You should have a nurturing brand of discipline. You can do this by setting fair limits and enforce them firmly but lovingly.
5. Set limits for your child. Very often children can not control themselves or their young impulses. By learning to live with limits from an early age they can be helped to develop a calm spirit.

One thing that you should never do is respond to your child by yelling at them. Many parents including myself can find this a very difficult thing to do. But if you constantly yell at your child you can damage their ego and interfere with self-confidence. Remember to be consistence. If you fail to be consistent even if only for a moment you can lose your credibility with the child. Since many babies and young toddlers have limited memories you can not expect them to learn a lesson the very first time that it is taut. So you need to be patient, and be ready to repeat the same message over an over again, as often as needed. If your child makes a mistake then this is ok. Children learn from their mistakes, if you make it impossible for your child to slip up, then you won’t have to say no very often, and there will not be much room for teaching.

Correction and reward work better than punishment. Instead of punishing misbehavior, catch your baby being good. Positive reinforcement, rewarding and praising good behavior, works much better. Also try to remember that at moments of high anxiety that your long-term goal is to teach right behavior and that screaming or swatting will teach wrong behavior. It will also set a poor example of what is appropriate when a person is angry. This is just my own personal opinion, which I currently use with my own children. The bottom line is you must do what is best for you and your child.

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