Don’t Trip Up

As a parent, we are sometimes amazed by the new depths of our patience. Other times, we surprise ourselves by our utter lack of patience. We are also horrified by some of the words that come out of our mouths in our moments of exasperation. But then again, while we know that we are not perfect, we also realize that we are often times overworked and exhausted. So how can we parents avoid the oh-so-common pitfalls of parenting while still trying to discipline our children effectively?

1) Be Empathetic: Try to put yourself in your child’s shoes. Remember that you are dealing with a kid, not rationalizing with an adult! Let them know that you totally understand that they may not want to eat their veggies, take a bath right then, or go to school. But make sure that they understand that we all must do things that we just don’t want to do!

2) Give a Warning: Be the referee and give your child a warning when it is merited. If your child has misbehaved, make sure he or she understands that there will be an immediate consequence, not just the distant promise of one…

3) Provide Feedback: Whether it is giving praise for good behavior, or voicing your disappointment for misbehavior, do make sure that you provide your child with frequent feedback. This helps him or her know what is expected in different situations.

4) Take a Time Out: Yes, parents can and should take a time out. As a parent confronting a stressful situation, even you have the right to some down time! So do take a break and count to 10 (or 20!) before returning to the crime scene and doling out the discipline for your child. This strategy will not only help you clear your head but also help you plan the appropriate discipline for your child.

5) Reprimand Now…not Later: Parents are frequently embarrassed to carry out their discipline in public. But if you wait too long to show your child the consequences of his or her behavior, the punishment, it may very well lose its intended effect. So, do try to find a way to inflict the punishment as immediately as possible so that your child may better understand the consequences.

If you still happen to make a mistake along the way (and you will!), don’t be afraid to own up to it. Your child will definitely appreciate your honesty and come to realize that you are indeed a fair individual – even with yourself!

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