Though I have only been parenting a child with a little more zest than the average for two years, I have had the pleasure of teaching many of these little beings for years. Parenting and teaching are really such different jobs, which is not something I thought before kids. I am going to share what has helped me, but I would love to share some of the wonderful strategies that have worked for you all. So please email or comment your ideas and I will include them with your name or as anonymous if you prefer.
The Lessons I Have Learned in Teaching and Parenting:
- Give and take. It is not all or nothing. Pick what you want to discipline. You have to let your child be themselves. Something I would correct Cole for may not be something I would bother with for Cecily. Not only are their ages different but so are their personalities. If I worry about each infraction, she would be spending half her life in time out and that would not be effective for anyone. There are some that are disciplined no matter what each time, like hitting.
- Natural consequences come into play fairly often. An example of this is the fact that my children love to take off their shoes in the car. While that works occasionally on a long trip, it hardly works for me when we are in a hurry to get in the house. So if my children decide to take off their shoes and I need to get into the house quickly, I simply snatch up their shoes and make them trounce in barefoot even if the pavement is hot and they may step on an ant. They hate it and so think twice before ripping off the shoes the next time, if not then natural consequences it is.
- No Empty Threats. Do not even think about threatening something you will not follow through on, because these little ones will test you! I always like to give if then statements. With her my simply saying not to do something is not enough. It has to be if you do not stop then I will put away your toy vacuum for the rest of the day.
- Do Not Give in to the Scream. As much as it pains you to hear that freak out or screaming, do not give in. Stand your ground even if it means they are falling asleep hysterical. Standing your ground does not mean you can not give comfort, it just means not allowing a bad reaction to deliver a reward.
- Keep them hydrated, fed, and rested. I have found that most of our behavioral problems simply are a result of one of these needs not being met.
- If you sense that there is something more, then speak up. Sometimes as parents we are afraid to be honest about what is going on with our children, but if you feel that this is beyond a personality trait seek some outside help. You can start with your pediatrician or school Child Study Team.