Discipline is a crucial part of parenting, but it can be a tricky issue. When done right, it helps children become responsible individuals as they grow up. Here are ideas on some approaches to discipline from our expert, Ms. Maribel Dionisio.
There are few differences in disciplining a child at different ages. “The key is to teach and guide at any age,” says Ms. Dionisio. She also recommends avoiding shouting and spanking or physical punishment as these may only generate resentment between parent and child.
Ms. Dionisio also outlines the ABC’s of parenting to make it easy for parents to remember her parenting tips:
- A for Attention-giving
- B for Building self-worth
- C for Communicating regularly and well
According to Ms. Dionisio, disciplining a child goes hand in hand with A, B, and C. “If you give sufficient attention to your child, build his/her self-worth by constantly pointing out the good [things] that he or she does, and communicate regularly and well with him/her, the discipline part becomes a lot easier.” It is important to develop a solid and genuine connection with the child using A, B, and C, so disciplining him or her becomes simpler.
One recommendation from the family expert in doing A, B, and C includes going out on dates with each child. She states that going out on dates with each of them will forge that genuine connection. She advises to not bring them all out together as this will diminish the connection you will have for each child. Bring each out separately. With regards to activities, you can do the following:
- Get something to eat
- Take a walk in the park
- Do something that the child likes to do that’s within a reasonable budget.
If you can make a genuine connection with the child, he or she will be much more receptive to disciplining.
Disciplining comes with setting rules. Ms. Dionisio suggests to set age appropriate rules as early as possible for the child, and explain these rules to him or her. Expect that there will be rules that the child will have difficulty following. It is our role as parents to be patient with the child. “Have logical consequences ready for the child. Logical consequences are outcomes that are logically related to their misbehavior or to their disregard for the rule(s),” she adds.
For example, it is a family rule to eat together at 6pm every day, and there is a 9-year-old son. A possible logical consequence for not showing up at the dinner table at 6pm is that he will need to make dinner for himself (the rule and consequence must of course be explained ahead of time). After dinnertime, his food would already be in the refrigerator and it would be quite difficult for the child to prepare everything and clean up after himself on his own. It will be inconvenient and unpleasant for him, but what is positive about this is that the child experienced the unpleasant logical consequence on his own.
Ms. Dionisio explains this example further with an analogy for adults. “When we don’t pay our electricity bill, does anyone shout or scream at us or spank us? No. Our electricity supply is simply cut. Getting our electricity cut is a logical consequence to our not paying. Same goes with disciplining children. Allow them to experience the logical consequences.”
Logical consequences are always related to the misbehavior. While it may sound easier to shout or spank a child for misbehavior, it is more effective to have the child experience the natural consequences of his or her actions.
Ms. Maribel Dionisio - Family Specialist