Child discipline is an important and emotional issue for parents of elementary-age children. We worry about misbehavior and how we should handle it. Ongoing behavior problems lead us to feel frustrated and angry. We dislike having to punish our children.
The majority of us need to learn more effective ways to discipline our children. Effective discipline helps our child develop self-control, respect for authority, and empathy. Both spoiled and harshly-disciplined children are at risk for emotional and behavioral problems. One new approach or discipline strategy can change the course of our child's development.
Children are different and so are parents. As you explore the discipline principles here, you should choose the strategies that fit your family. Take the risk to try something new. As your child grows, remember these basic principles underly the variety of discipline strategies you will use.
Good child discipline begins with attachment.
Attachment begins when the child is an infant. To continue good attachment parenting through the elementary years, see these tips on Attachment Parenting of Older Children. If your child has difficulties with attachment from infancy, effective professional help during the elementary years steers your family and child to a positive and hopeful adolescence.
Good child discipline shows respect for the child and the parent.
Discipline techniques that belittle or shame a child are truly harmful. If your relationship with your child has become a power struggle; then control, not discipline, has become your goal. Defuse this toxic relationship with good listening skills. Show respect for your child's feelings and thoughts, while standing firm on your expectations for good behavior. Respect for parents and other authorities is crucial to self-discipline and healthy development. Help your child learn respect for authority by making your own words and actions as a parent worthy of respect.
Good child discipline changes as the child grows.
When discipline doesn't seem to be working for your family, you want to step back and look again at the problem. The first step is to learn what is normal behavior for your child's age and stage of development. Some misbehavior is an expression of transitions in the school-age child's rapid development. Parental expectations may be beyond what the child is able to achieve on a consistent basis.
Good child discipline requires good family communication.
Giving instructions and consequences, planning for good behavior, listening to your child, holding family meetings, and resolving conflict are just a few of the opportunities parents have to encourage self-discipline and maintain good family relationships. When confronting a problem, your style of communication will help or hinder a successful resolution. Learn how to communicate effectively with your child with these quick How Tos:
- How to Listen to Your Child
- How to Praise Your Child
- How to Give Instructions to Your Child
- How to Give Consequences to Your Child
- How to Hold a Family Meeting
- How to Resolve Family Conflict
- How to Build Your Child's Self-Esteem
More of this Feature