I’m asking this question because I am very confused about how to discipline my 3-year old daughter. She is a sweet girl, but she has a lot of temper tantrums that seem to come out of nowhere and are extremely hard to stop. If I try to reason with her or explain to her why she’s doing something wrong, it usually ends up in a screaming fit.
If you want your children to grow up to be responsible, respectful, and decent members of society, then you must discipline them. This is not to say that they will love you any less; on the contrary, you will be loved for your concern for them.
However this takes an enormous amount of patience and perseverance on the part of the parents to discipline the child. Children by nature are free spirits and would like to have all kinds of freedoms. You as a parent don’t want to restrict them to strict rules either. There will always be two sides of the coin, so total restriction will not be very good for them and neither will absolute freedom. There is a good balance between the two that you have to achieve.
There are several ways in which you can go about it. For instance, you can start with your own home rules. If you are the one who works all day long, then at night when the children are at home, you should let them be. They can play in their room, watch movies and even listen to music until late. But you should make sure that they don’t overdo it, or else you will find yourself getting tired of listening to them. When it comes to going out, you can give them the freedom to do as they please. If they are young enough, they can go to the mall and buy what they want.
The golden law for you as a parent is to first think about what kinds of habits are good for the child and which ones are not. Then make sure that you initially observe the children for the first few days and understand their nature. Then also understand what their behavioral tendencies are. Make sure you understand how well he or she responds to correction and praise.
Now, if the child has a particular behavior problem, then you must know how to correct it. There are many ways to do this. You can use any of them to correct your child’s bad habits. Some of the methods are: First, you can simply show disapproval. In other words, you can ignore such actions or you can get irritated by it. But you should avoid punishing your children. Second, you can praise the child for the good behavior and ignore the bad one.
Then with all this in mind you have to develop a long-term discipline plan for the child. For each type of indiscipline you have to observe where he is doing wrong. Then slowly approach each problem and try to correct it. For things he gets stubborn about make sure you have the appropriate response. From the beginning, never get into yelling with the child. That gives the child the impression that he has power and that you don’t.
Try to stay calm in all situations. Be firm when telling your child that his behavior is not acceptable.
Never leave him with that idea, if he does not try to explain why the behavior is not acceptable. Be very cold and firm when saying that. He will understand that you are serious. Hopefully after several conversations like that he will begin to relate what you are saying. If he still does not understand, give him mild forms of punishment but never go to the extreme. Most children begin to behave well at that point. If not, then you have to take help of a child psychologist for the appropriate therapies and treatments.
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