12 DISCIPLINE TIPS FOR PARENTS
TIP 1: LET YOUR CHILD KNOW WHAT YOU EXPECT: Teachers and parents know that high expectations and encouragement often produce surprising and pleasing results. On the other hand, low expectations are usually met with poor results. Children usually do what’s expected of them – if they know what that is. So, discuss basic conduct with your children. Whether they are six or sixteen, let them know you expect politeness and good manners. Let your children know you expect them to respect school property, which your taxes helped buy. Tell your children you expect them to respect the rights of others and to behave appropriately wherever they go – in school, in theaters, in shopping malls, at home.
TIP 2: BE CONSISTENT WITH DISCIPLINE: It’s very frustrating for children of any age when parents and teachers respond one way one time and very differently the next time. If whining is punished at home, it ought not to be overlooked in public. If talking out of turn is wrong for John on Monday, then it should be wrong for Jane on Tuesday.
Rules worth having are worth enforcing, with very few exceptions, whether they relate to bedtime, homework, using the family care, dating or whatever.
TIP 3: DON’T REWARD INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR: If children get clothes, games, and CD’s by whining, they learn to whine and sulk and pout. If temper tantrums bring immediate attention, they are likely to continue. Children should know that misbehavior won’t bring rewards.
TIP 4: PRAISE GOOD BEHAVIOR: Since most parents expect good behavior, it does not often occur to them to call attention to it. A smile or a comment is usually sufficient recognition, but a period of improved behavior might be rewarded with a special dessert, a small present, or another "treat."
TIP 5: EXPRESS YOUR BELIEFS OPENLY: Children need more moral and ethical direction from their parents and they expect it. Don’t leave it up to their friends, television, and advertisements. Let your children know how you feel about drinking, smoking, drugs, premarital sex, religion, politics, school rules, the obligations of friendship, goals for life, facing up to responsibility, cheating, lying, love. As much as they might appear to challenge your beliefs, they want your guidance. You don’t have to sit your children down for a lecture to let them know what you believe. Television, the movies, and the daily events in your lives give you ample opportunity to make casual comments like "That’s wrong" or "That’s a nice thing to do."
TIP 6: MAKE YOUR CHILD AWARE OF CONSEQUENCES: Many children aren’t aware of the consequences of what they do; they’re only anxious not to get caught. Let your children know that every time a school desk is carved, every time a school window is smashed, every time a school wall is written on, your taxes go up. Let them realize how inappropriate behavior affects others. Don’t rush in too quickly to assure your children that someone’s feelings weren’t hurt by a thoughtless act. If your children waste their weekly allowance, consider not providing extra money for that important thing they want. If your children break something through carelessness or misbehavior, let them earn money to replace or repair it. Only in fiction do all situations work out with no one having to suffer at all.
TIP 7: SELF-DISCIPLINE IS THE GOAL: The real value of rules is to help children learn to discipline themselves, to set rules for themselves, to become independent and self-sufficient. Rules about bedtime, use of the family car, homework, watching TV, and so forth, all help children realize they have to make choices. Making choices wisely is self-discipline.
TIP 8: DOSE THEM WITH LOVE: It’s a difficult but important job to raise children from dependent infants to self-sufficient adults. All along the way, they’ll test your rules and complain about them. But children need discipline to help them set their own rules for life. Many children who appear to brag, "My parents don’t care what I do," are really covering up for the feeling that, "My parents don’t love me enough to care." All along the way, discipline should include obvious doses of love.
TIP 9: LISTEN TO YOUR CHILD: If your children come home with complaints about school, talk it out, get to the real source of the problem, let them express their feelings completely. Suppose your child says, "My teacher doesn’t like me." If you agree outright, "Yes, I know, I had teachers that didn’t like me either.," you’re sustaining your child’s resentment and making future misbehavior likely. On the other hand, if you automatically support the teacher and dismiss the accusation by saying, "Of course he/she likes you," you deny the child a chance to talk about the problem. That doesn’t help either. Ask your child why he or she has a complaint, and then talk it out fully. If you think it would help, call the teacher and express your child’s concern.
TIP 10: CALL THE TEACHER: Many potential discipline problems can be avoided. If your child has suffered a severe personal disappointment such as the death of a friend or relative, or cancellation of a family vacation, let the teacher know. Everyone (including teachers) sometimes takes out personal frustrations at an unrelated event. A child who is angry at the death of a pet or friend, for example, may explode in class at a minor correction of misbehavior. It can help if the teacher is aware of these situations.
TIP 11: GET INVOLVED IN YOUR CHILD’S EDUCATION: Take an interest in your child’s school. Participate in PTA, attend school functions, and get to know your child’s teachers. Parents and teachers working together can reduce discipline problems.
Find out about behavior at your child’s school by asking the assistant principal. What are the biggest problems? Is there a student behavior code your child is expected to follow? What are the normal disciplinary procedures? Ask your child about behavior at school, too. Do students think it’s "big" to drink or use drugs? How does your child feel about these things? This should open up a discussion that will allow you to express your views on behavior.
Tip 12: KNOW YOUR CHILD’S FRIENDS AND FOES: It is important to know who your child is hanging out with at school and after school. You should know your child’s friends almost as good as you know your own friends. Know their parents also and make contact with them occasionally. Keep tabs on your child when they are away from home. Be aware if there are any children that your child is having conflict with.