6 Basics for Parenting your Child

If you’re struggling with disciplining your child, maybe its time to go back to basics.

1.  Set rules.  All children need consistent rules and limits, so they understand what is expected of them.  Compose a list of family rules that are clear and reasonable.

2.  Practice positive attention.  All too often we give attention only when our child is acting out; resulting in more acting out.  Catch your child being good and you will see more of the behavior you desire.

3.  Consequences.  Discuss one or two specific consequences with your child beforehand.  Don’t wait until the misbehavior occurs.  Children need to know that if they act out, there will be repercussions.

4.  Model the behavior you want to see in your child.  Discipline is more effective when parents calm themselves, before approaching their child about a misbehavior.  Take a deep breath or a time out and then discipline. 

5.  Give choices.  Give your child two options instead of direct commands.  This helps to diminish the dreaded power struggles and the immediate “no” response to your request.

6.  Address the behavior.  Always point out the negative behavior, rather than your child personally.  Labeling the action as “bad” and not the child promotes positive self esteem.

Jo Cuneo, LMSW,  The Parent Coach