Have you ever heard that remark about how children just aren’t the way they used to be? It’s a fact that things that change and every generation faces new obstacles, like disciplining our children. We all know that different children require different forms of discipline and all children need to know their boundaries. Parents however aren’t mind readers and that’s where the hard work begins.
If parents begin to discipline their children early, it will be much easier to enforce rules later on. Toddlers are busy bodies, into everything and they absorb everything in their environment like a sponge. This is a critical learning stage for children as well as a prime time to enforce age appropiate discipline. Age appropriate discipline is ultimately up to the parents and this is where some of the mind reading comes in. Evaluate your child and determine what your child understands. It’s very important for a young child to understand the method of punishment, why they are being punished and how long it will last.
Some parents designate places in their homes specifically for punishment purposes. One form of punishment for young toddlers referred to as “time out” is when the child is made to remain in an area for a specific time. Perhaps sitting in a chair, a corner of the room or a particular rug in the room. The child learns that the item whatever it may be, is used for time out.
Another form of punishment called “the corner” is age appropriate for older children between the ages of three to eight years old. As with time out usually there is a designated corner for younger children but as they get older about five or six years old, any corner will work. A common time limit for both time out and the corner is usually about five minutes. If after the child has been punished, the persists with bad behavior then be consistent and send them back to the chosen form of punishment. Each time add an extra minute. The maximum for three to four year olds should be no more than ten minutes and twenty for older children.
Remember, no matter what form of punishment a parent uses it’s utterly important for the child to understand why they are being punished. Hug the child after punishments, tell them that they are loved and explain their actions to them. Remember each time you discipline your child that they are learning from your example so stay calm and focus on teaching your child what you need them to know. If they know what they have done, understand the consequences of their actions then they are less likely to do it again.
Don’t get ahead of your child, keep age appropriate in mind when you set boundaries or develop punishment. We all learn from our successes and our failures, children are no different. Talk to your child and keep a good line of communication open for them as they grow.
There are many resources available for parents who wish to learn ways to teach their children. It’s always a good idea to check with your local library, early childhood education center, elementary school, hospital or any state agencies for families. Some communities even offer parenting classes at a low cost and sometimes for free. If there’s nothing available in your area then don’t forget that the internet as well is a valuable source of information.