Children are very clever; they can exploit the slightest weakness in any figure of authority. Even the little ones become very adept at knowing how far they can go. They usually know which parent will retreat from his/her word.
Parents must constantly communicate. They must show a united approach towards discipline and the consequences of ill discipline. Should there be differences of opinion the adults should be sorted out their approaches in private and not in front of the child.
On the sports field we will accept the rulings of the umpire or referee as long as they are fair and the interpretation of the rules are constant. In the same way the parents should show a constant, fair and united front as regards discipline.
We love our children; we like to believe that they are perfect. Even loving parents can spot unacceptable behaviour and they should never be blind their children’s misbehaviour or irritating behaviour.
Once again these clever little imps know exactly where the parent will suffer the most embarrassment. They choose the supermarket, a friend’s home, church or any place where they hope the parent will retreat from his/her disciplinary routines to spring a tantrum to get their own way.
Corrective measures are dictated by the parent’s culture, nationality, local laws and personal norms and values, but must at all times be constant.
Unfortunately the trickiest situation in the regard to discipline occurs in broken homes. Each parent wants to be the ‘loved one’ and does not want to become known as the disciplinarian, but especially here, a united approach it vitally important to give the child stability. Communication is essential.
The consequential corrective measures should be age appropriate. Small children could be removed from the area or older children could be deprived of a treat. Don’t lavish attention on unacceptable behaviour and continuous shouting and cursing eventually becomes meaningless.
When an outcome is promised, carry it out if the unacceptable behaviour has not stopped. If you are not consistent, your word will be ignored next time.
Show the little one that good behaviour is noticed and, where appropriate, reward it. If at all possible do not lavish attention on poor behaviour.
Do not retreat and always strive to ease the acceptance of your little one into the community where he/she is destined to spend his/her life. We love them and want to be proud of them and their behaviour.
© Teresa Denton