Disciplining your children can be hard work and sometimes you may just not know the best way to deal with disobedience. I’m sharing creative ideas for disciplining today… Some of these ideas are more suited to older children so use your best judgement.
Remember that by being consistent and always following through you’ll teach your child that you mean what you say. Don’t throw out empty threats! I can’t count the times I hear a parent yell at a child, threaten them with bodily harm or some other empty threat and the child continues the bad behavior regardless.
Recently, I was sitting with my girls in the doctor’s office. There was a young mother with a two year old who really wasn’t being anything more than just a two year old. But the mom didn’t want her crawling on the floor and under chairs and walking out the door. As the child did all of those things repeatedly, the mom fussed in an angry tone of voice from across the room.
“Rachel, cut it out!”
“Don’t make me come over there! I said don’t crawl on the floor! It’s dirty!”
“You’re gonna get a whooping!”
“I’m gonna get you!”
“I said don’t do that!”
This continued for at least 30 minutes. Only once did the mom get up and pick up the toddler. The little girl sat in her mother’s lap crying for maybe 30 seconds before she was back on the floor, running into the hall and back again, all while the mother fussed all over again.
Either you want your child to obey or you don’t. Seriously.
Don’t whine at your child. Don’t yell. If you ask your child to do something, expect it to be done. If they don’t obey, get up and make them obey.
Make it happen.
5 Ideas for Disciplining Your Child
Ultimately as parents our goal is to teach our children how to have self-control, show respect to people, animals, and things, and be obedient to God.
You should never humiliate your child, talk down to your child, or belittle your child in any way. A couple days ago I had taken Hannah and Laura to check out a gymnastics class and as we entered the building there was a mother with a little girl, maybe 5 years old who was sitting in a chair crying. Her mother spent several minutes talking in a low, angry tone to the little girl, called her a cry baby while she put her ballet shoes on.
I don’t know what the child did. I don’t think it really matters. Whatever happened, the mother was out of line talking to her little girl like that and humiliating her in public. My daughters looked at me wide eyed and shook their heads. Laura whispered, “That poor little girl.”
Children deserve respect. These ideas are not to be used with hateful speech, angry yelling, or any other type of emotionally abusive language. You’re children hear you better when you speak calmly and with respect. Be firm, but always remember that a broken child becomes a broken adult.
1. Time Out. I talked a lot about using time out in this article. It’s effective if used properly.
2. Natural Consequences. A lot of times disobedience has a natural consequence. For example: Don’t tell your child to put away his iPod for an hour. Ask your child nicely. Give them a few moments to finish up whatever it was they were doing and then expect it to be done. If he does not listen, take it away.
Another example would be if you told your child not to do something and they get hurt or a toy gets broken. Don’t add insult to injury by yelling at your child when his behavior has already resulted in an unintended, yet perhaps obvious consequence. You generally don’t have to say, “I told you so” either.
3. Writing sentences. I have used this technique with all of my kids. It’s simple and so boring that kids don’t enjoy it at all. Depending on the age and offense, I suggest ages 5 – 12, you can give more or less sentences. Have your child sit at the table until the sentences have been written. I always required neat handwriting. Generally the sentence would have something to do with the offense. “I will not hit my sister.” “I will not talk back to my mom.” “I will obey my dad.”
4. Scrubbing floors, wall, etc. If your child has been disrespectful or disobedient, why not assign a chore like scrubbing the floor, mopping, cleaning the bathroom with a toothbrush, washing walls, or any other job you need done? It’s a great way to teach a lesson and get your house clean.
5. The Uh-Oh Bucket. This one is fabulous for kids who forget to put their things away. I write all about it here.
Bonus Tip: One more thing I want to mention. Don’t allow your child to disrespect you when you are correcting him. Your child needs to look you in the eye when you or another adult speaks to him. Fidgeting, eyes darting away, acting distracted, joking, rolling eyes, or any other such behavior is unacceptable and needs to be corrected.
So, there you have it. Five creative discipline techniques that I have personally used in my household.
Do you have any creative consequences for unacceptable behavior? Let me know in the comments below!
Other articles in this series:
- How to Discipline Without Spanking
- Disciplining Better When Your Child is Older
- How to Structure the Day for a Toddler
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