SIX STEPS TO GOOD DISCIPLINE
- Define what the rules are before they are enforced—what is and what is not acceptable. Be sure the rules are reasonable and clear.
- It is in the nature of children to challenge boundaries. It is the process by which they test you. In addition, their leadership and security comes out of this. They want to know if the boundaries are secure and if they are being kept safe. It is important to maintain your authority and to do so decisively when you know that you have been willfully and defiantly challenged. A child gains security and love when there are boundaries which are consistently enforced.
- Distinguish between willful defiance and childish irresponsibility. Unless the irresponsibility is willful and deliberate, it should not be punished. Other alternatives should be used to teach responsibility.
- Reassure and teach the child after the confrontation is over. Let him know that you love him. This separates a child’s behavior from his worth as a person. (“I love you, but I do not like your behavior.”) Because we behave badly, this does not make us bad people.
- Avoid impossible demands. Be sure a child is capable of delivering what you demand. What you require should be obtainable. Otherwise, you put the child in an unresolvable situation and a great deal of tension results.
- Let love be your guide. You can get away with some mistakes if the child feels loved.