What do you do when you see soiled towel and clothes littered all over your kid’s room?
What do you do when your child enters the living room wearing his dirty sports shoes?
You may probably ignore and clean up the mess yourself if the kid/s is/are in kindergarten but will you do that for your preschool kid/s? NO
What do you do when your 10 year old back answers?
What do you do when your tween girl refuses to talk with you?
8 out 10 parents loose their cool and demand action in the above cases. This results in further argument and heats up the room. Right? But does this solve the problem? NO. Hitting or spanking the child does not help either. There are some parents who imply “Time out” the new cool concept with the intent to discipline the victim. Here the child is made to sit alone and served with nothing, neither food nor words. You think this helps? Dig in your childhood and think how did your parents react when you were upset? Did any of the above strategies cool you down? NO. Do you think this will discipline your child?
Take a deep breath and understand that punishment has nothing to do with discipline. Punishment, physical (as in spanking, hitting, or causing pain) or psychological (as in disapproval, isolation, or shaming) has adverse effect on the child. Punishment focuses on past misbehavior and offers little or nothing to help a child behave better in the future. When punishment is used, the person who punishes the child becomes responsible for the child’s behavior. To punish is to inflict suffering for the past behavior.
Discipline on the other hand is the practice of training someone to behave in accordance with rules or a code of behavior. To discipline means to teach. To teach is to show and explain how to do something. It focuses on teaching the desirable future behavior. While punishment is harmful for the brains, discipline fosters healthy brain development. As parents we all want this right? For this we need to understand the brain. Our brain is divided into three regions:
Reptilian brain – controls bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat, digestion, fight or flight reaction and other survival functions without our conscious effort.
Mammalian brain – also called the emotional brain, is responsible for strong emotions such as fear, rage, separation anxiety, caring, nurturing, etc.
Human brain – also called the thinking brain, it is where learning, reasoning, problem-solving, decision-making or sophisticated thinking takes place.
So the difference between discipline and punishment is that:
Discipline invokes the thinking brain, while Punishment impacts the emotional brain. Punishment is fear-based coercive discipline. And frequent fear is not good to brains .
Now that this question is answered “Which game do you want to play?”
1) Who is right? or
2) Let’s make life more wonderful…
Let’s explore at strategies which help in making life more wonderful. 5 effective ways to discipline children, are:
1. Modify children’s behavior: You know that you reap what you sow and therefore be a role model for your child. You cannot foster a positive child with a negative mind hence you need to follow the rules of positive parenting.The ability to learn by observing and imitating others is unique to human and it time we put this into practice. How?
• If you want your child to be respectful, you respect your child.
• If you want your child to be kind, you are kind to your child.
• If you don’t want your child to hit, you don’t hit your child.
2. Develop their characters: This can be done by positive upbringing and appropriate education. Use encouraging words as positive reinforcement to motivate children in a constructive way. Spend time with your child to understand the root cause of his/her repulsion. Sometimes constant nagging and no trust can also trigger adverse behaviors. Stop saying No instead use alternatives. Visit my blog titled “Don’t say NO” to understand this better.
3. Protect their mental health: IQ is taught at school but EQ is taught at home. Emotional Quotient foster empathy and sympathy and nurtures the thinking capabilities in children. Put yourself in your child’s shoe before you conclude or take any decision. You think you are stressed? Live life like a child of today and you will be surprised. Look at EQ for more reference on this.
4. Develop close relationship with them: Spend quality time, plan vacations together, say I love you often, listen to them, play games together or give surprises. Sometimes a simple hug and a close talk can work magic between you and your child. Offering a glass of water is a simple icebreaker and conversation starter.
5. Connect before you correct: Often we start to correct before we even connect with our child. Be clear in your own intentions. WHEN CHILDREN FEEL STRONGLY CONNECTED TO YOU (THEY FEEL LOVED, VALUED, AND UNDERSTOOD), THEY ARE SIMPLY MORE OPEN TO YOUR INFLUENCE.
“Connecting before correcting is discipline whereas correcting before connecting is punishment.”
Question: Is your intention to correct or to connect?
Activity: In a course of a week, count the number of times you correct and then count the number of times you correct. Check for yourself.
Time starts NOW.
Happiness and sunshine,
P.S: My tween had suddenly become arrogant , but a simple coffee date with him helped me connect better and then correct better. Do share your connecting strategies and help in spreading happiness and sunshine!