The techniques used for disciplining children have changed over the years. What was once standard practice is now frowned upon by many. Kids still need to learn right from wrong. Children who have rules in their home and understand they need to follow them are usually less stressed than the ones who don’t. But a working parent can have a hard time enforcing rules when they are tired and worn out from the day.
When mom or dad feels tired and stressed they tend to make these common parenting mistakes to take a shortcut to calm in the home. While many of us might have grown up in homes where these parenting mistakes happened, disciplining children is more about patience and consistency than it is about magic fixes that might calm a storm at the moment but create emotional tension for both of you later.
Recognizing things about parenting that don’t help will enable you to seek ways that are more effective for more harmonious family life. Everyone wants that.
Discipling Children Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint
Everyone wants to be a great parent. No one can fault you for trying, and everyone wonders if they are doing as great a job at it as they can be. Sometimes the parenting techniques we resort to when we run out of patience and leave us feeling guilty instead of empowered.
Yelling Is Not An Effective Technique
Don’t beat yourself up. Every parent has been guilty of losing their cool and forgetting to use their indoor voices. Yelling as your go-to to try and gain control over your kids isn’t going to do the job you want. It might send your kids running or make them freeze in their tracks, but yelling isn’t a great tool for disciplining children.
Teaching discipline is about helping children understand the rules you sent and training them to obey the rules, even when they don’t want to. When kids have good discipline, they do so because they understand that the rules are followed. They know the rules are in place for good reason.
While yelling might feel like a release from intense stress, it isn’t going to teach your children to obey your rules. It will teach them to fear your emotional outbursts. Fear is a poor motivation for obedience.
If you want to get your kids to understand the rules, you have to calmly lay them out as a family and tell them what the consequences for not following the rules are ahead of time. Having a house meeting about the rules, why they are the rules, and what happens when we don’t follow them, eliminates the need to react to behavior. There is no need to yell about unacceptable behavior when you can confidently say, “We agreed this behavior was not following the rules, and we agreed what the consequence was.”
Making Up Consequences Arbitrarily
When tensions are high, it is easy to go overboard with consequences as a way to stop disobedience. While it might feel empowering to levy heavy consequences for actions, it will quickly backfire into guilty feelings and almost always results in mom or dad reneging on their consequences.
Children need to know that there are consequences. One of the best ways to enforce that is to follow through on them. When kids know what consequences are and that they will be enforced, they tend to follow through on the rules. When consequences are known by the whole house, they can be easily enforced. Disciplining children is a whole lot easier for mom and dad when everyone knows that mom and dad mean business. It is better to enforce rules for everyone when mom and dad do that without being mean.
Allowing One Adult To Decide Not To Enforce The Rules
Disciplining children properly can be a lot trickier when one of the adults in the home doesn’t go along with the rules. When children get confused by when the rules get enforced, it can add to the parenting challenges instead of making it easier. Not only do children benefit from rules and discipline, but so do the adults in the home.
Before you roll out your rules and consequences family meeting and get agreement from the kids, make sure the adults in the home know about the rules of engagement in the home first, and why it is important to follow them as much as the children.
Parenting Classes Can Help Parents Find Their Balance
Parenting children is a lifelong commitment. Being a parent is the hardest job you’ll ever love. If you are feeling stressed about parenting and wish you had more confidence in this area, help is closer than you think.
Parenting classes can help parents find the balance in working together that they are always looking for. If you would like to find better ways to parent with confidence, we are here to help. Contact us today for more information on our next parenting classes and breathe a little easier.