Disciplining your child is never a fun or easy task. At the very least you have to deal with a few tears or promises of better behavior, at worst you deal with a full fledged meltdown. And sometimes, when you are disciplining your child, it's hard to be sure that you're being fair (especially when your toddler is yelling about how UNfair you're being). If you've had these moments, like I have, these guidelines will help you not only feel better about disciplining your child, but it will set some clear guidelines about how and when to do it!
1. Discipline Should Be about Education
When you're disciplining your child, you always want to make sure that you aren't disciplining them for any reason but education, like when you punish your child for doing something dangerous. Never discipline just because your child is doing something that annoys you. It seems like common sense but you would be amazed by how many parents don't follow this rule.
2. Punishments Should Always Fit the Crime
This one is difficult in practice because sometimes, you have to think like your child thinks. What does not listening lead to in your home? Growing up, not listening meant time in time out, a chair that was set up in the corner that let you observe things without being listened to. So, not listening leads to a few minutes of your voice not being heard.
3. Don't Punish in Anger
This can be VERY difficult, especially when your child throws a tantrum or doesn't listen repeatedly. However, instead of yelling in anger or spanking or sending your child to his or her room in the height of your frustration, take a few minutes to breathe and calm down, then pass down the punishment once you have a clearer head.
4. ALWAYS Follow through
I hate it when I hear parents threaten punishment due to certain behavior and then never follow through with that punishment even if the behavior continues. This sends a message to your child that you don't need to be taken seriously because you're just full of hot air. Follow through with your threats of punishment so your child knows that you are serious.
5. Make Punishments Age Appropriate
This one is pretty easy. If you have a one year old, you can't just send your child to his or her room when they misbehave, just like you can't put a nine year old in time out. Make sure that your punishments not only fit the crime but also fit the child that you are punishing.
6. Rules and Consequences Should Be Clear
Always, always, always make sure that the rules about behavior and expectations in your household are well known and clear, just like the consequences of breaking those rules. If your child isn't made aware of the rules, he or she cannot be punished fairly for breaking them. This is a guideline more for when your children are a little older and can actually understand actions and consequences, not so much when you have a toddler and need to keep them out of things to keep them safe.
7. Always Be Consistent
This is the thing that I struggle with most, but when you punish your child for something, if they do it again, you have to punish them again. Letting a child do something after they have been punished for it sends a mixed signal and can confuse your child about what you expect of them and what they are and aren't allowed to do. So, to avoid confusion, you should be consistent in your rules and punishments for breaking them.
Well ladies, these are the guidelines that I think everyone should follow when disciplining their children fairly. What do you do to make sure that you are disciplining your child or children fairly? Let me know down below!