There have been huge debates over how to properly discipline your kids for as long as humans have existed. When our parents were young they got spanked with wooden paddles and now you would go to jail if you even threatened to do that. In all honesty I don’t think spankings or instilling fear into your kid is effective anyway. So what are age appropriate ways to discipline children without letting your anger take control and cloud the message you are trying to convey?
Behavior charts work extremely well with kids who are just starting school. Trent was having a ton of issues adjusting to preschool so we made a chart for him. Whenever they have a good day they get to add a sticker. When they have a bad day they get a sticker taken away. When they reach the amount you have decided they get a prize. It doesn’t need to be anything huge. Even an ice cream date with you or a small gift from the dollar store works. It gives little kids something to look at to see their progress and see that there are benefits to good behavior.
Having a Conversation
My son is a very sensitive soul and that’s what I love about him. He is extremely empathetic. Sometimes just sitting with him and explaining why something he did wasn’t acceptable is enough to curb the behavior. When you use “I feel” statements to explain why something they did hurt you or someone else it creates a safe place to express their own feelings and see that their behavior can hurt others. Also, this will carry with them into their teenage years as well. They will feel much more safe talking with you about serious issues than if you were to scream at them for their mistakes.
Taking Away Toys or Electronics
As simple as this sounds, this works wonders. When Trent was little I would take away his favorite stuffed animal and now it’s turned into taking away his nintendo switch. It gives kids something to work on earning back and shows that bad behavior has consequences.
One on One Time
Sometimes kids who are misbehaving are really just trying to get your attention. Have you been too preoccupied with day to day tasks or work to really hear what they are saying? I know that when Trent’s dad moved away he acted out. It was a difficult adjustment period for him and he felt abandoned. Sometimes just scheduling some time in your day to show you aren’t going anywhere and focus the attention back on them is all it takes.
Take it one day at a time and try these methods before resorting to the extreme. It could create a stronger bond between you and your kids.