There are numerous moments while parenting where the child is throwing tantrums, whining, fussing, or crying relentlessly. This is not to make you angry or frustrate you. It is the child’s way of venting out. This is where discipline comes into the picture. Discipline is one of the most significant elements of parenting. In the simplest understanding, discipline is primarily about consequences and choices. It is with the discipline that kids are taught to be responsible, understanding, kind and honest individuals.
When indiscipline occurs, the most common consequence to it is to punish the child. However, punishment is not always the answer to indiscipline as does not automatically lead to discipline. It only provides external motivation, whereas discipline is internal. When punished, children either comply with the punishment or do everything in their power to avoid it, which often results in power struggles between parents and children.
Mentioned below are four reasons to forego punishments:
1. Punishing is resorted to when there is indiscipline. But the truth is that there are no bad kids. There is only bad behaviour. The reason why your child might be acting out could be out of hunger, stress, or because he/she is tired. Find the solution to the root cause behind their tantrums. This will remove the need for punishment altogether.
2. Instead of punishing, teach children conflict resolution and empower them with problem-solving skills. If they have damaged something, replace or repair whatever they damaged. If a child is constantly worried and fearful of punishment, he/she will never learn conflict resolution.
3. If your child does something wrong, instead of pointing out what he/she did wrong, show them how he/she can rectify it. For example, if he/she snatches a toy from his/her friend or classmate, then you don’t just say “don’t take it”. This only gives the child information about what he/she should not do and gives no alternative action. So, teach him/her to make it right by apologizing and in case he/she says no to apologize, and then say that you will sit with him/her until an apology is said.
4. Punishing does not teach children lessons. Once you have adopted to the punishing mindset, it is hard to consider other alternatives to punishing. Instead of teaching a child something with respect, understanding and empathy transforms inappropriate behaviour into a learning opportunity that should be utilized in the moment.
When dealing with children of any age, particularly preschoolers, it is crucial that parents and guardians keep their cool. If parents, guardians or teachers get angry, the children too will pick up the same. Always remember to finish a disciplining moment with a positive statement. Your children should always be reminded that you love them.
If I had my child to raise all over again, I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later. I'd finger-paint more, and point the fingerless. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I'd take more hikes and fly more kites. I'd stop playing seriously and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I'd do more hugging and less tugging. ~ Diane Loomans