A few parents have approached Train Kids with their struggle regarding discipline.
To speak on this, the book PARENTING WITH PANACHE of South African author Dereck Jackson was used as reference.
Dereck Jackson is an educator, counselor and parent.
He studied education and psychology in SA and in the USA.
He is a former head of a gifted-child center and ran a guidance center for children with educational problems.
Dereck describes panache as a confident, stylish manner.
The first chapter of Dereck’s book is called DISCIPLINE WITHOUT ANGER OR TEARS.
He has found that parent’s major concern is how to discipline effectively while still maintaining a good relationship with their children.
Dereck says he considers effective discipline the key to parenting - when parents get discipline right, almost everything else falls into place.
To do this, you need a structured, integrated plan.
So, when does discipline begin?
Discipline begins the day the child becomes mobile.
Before that, it is the parents who need to be disciplined, and in a routine.
If you don’t begin the day the child becomes mobile, he/she will destroy your home and destroy themselves by running across a road, or doing something equally dangerous.
There are 5 elements of effective discipline
1. Limit setting or rules
2. Models of discipline
3. Give an effective command
4. Question of punishment - what action is appropriate
5. How to handle difficult situations
1. LIMIT SETTING
1.1 Establish clear rules
- Parents feel rules will crush their child’s spirit
They want their children to be creative like Vincent van Gogh and paint beautiful paintings
If you don’t have rules you will get a Vincent who paints beautiful but also a Vincent who will cut of someone’s ear!
- If you want a successful child, they will need to respect the rules of society
1.2 Rules provide security
- Gives a sense of stability and set boundaries
RULE OF THUMB: YOUR CHILD WILL BE AS NAUGHTY AS YOU ALLOW HIM TO BE
Children without boundaries will keep on testing where the boundaries are
Children love rules – it makes them feel safe
Even adults need rules – what game doesn’t have rules?
Want a harmonious house – when children turn 4, have family meeting and discuss the house rules.
Order, structure and routine creates a happy home
Example – Boucher household
ONE RULE THAT IS NOT NEGOTIONABLE – PARENTS ARE IN CHARGE
YOU CAN NOT BE YOUR CHILD’S FRIEND
What kind of emotional dwarf of 35 needs a best friend of 5 and more so, what kind of mixed up child needs a friend of 35
There is a difference between being your child’s friend and being friendly, loving, supportive and comforting
IF THIS RULE IS ESTABLISHED, ALL OTHER RULES ARE NEGOTIABLE
Now you can sit and brainstorm and let children suggest rules.
Choose rules that make your life happier
A few common rules:
1. Parents are in charge
2. Set bed time and set get up time
3. Set time to eat
4. Time to tidy up
5. Set time to do homework (for older children)
6. Set time for bathing/showering
7. You speak to your parents with respect – it is in the 10 commandments
When you allow your children to speak to you with disrespect, they will do the same to other adults.
Rules have to do with time – Time gives order and structure
Tidy up is an important skill to learn
Under achievers often lack organization
Parents need to teach how to tidy up – teach them order – where does what go?
When can they start – from as young as 17 months old – age appropriate of course – not making beds
1.3 Applying the rules
Consistently but not rigidly
This is not a paradox
E.g. staying up late on weekday is not negotiable but on a Friday – let’s talk about it.
But it still a set time and not to be messed with
Rules and a sense of humour
When a child breaks a rule it is not ARMAGEDDON! DON’T THROW A FIT
Dereck says if teenage sons hang their towel on the rail, he has serious emotional problems…
You will struggle with some rules – one day their own children will do it to them too…
NOW – GO IN TO ASSERTIVE EFFECTIVE COMMAND
2. MODELS OF DISCIPLINE
· The Assertive model
· The Behaviouristic model
· The Problem-solving model
2.1 The Assertive model
Children know when parents are serious – THE BODY IS COMING AT ME!
Make use of effective assertive body language and tone of voice
It is not yelling. It is speaking with authority
Before making a command -
Is it worth the fuss?
Do I have the energy to see it through?
If not – rather not give the command, because by not following through you undermine your own discipline
Why do parents get commands wrong?
Ineffective mothers – NAG (the child does not know where the cutoff point is)
Ineffective fathers – PREACH
TELL WAR STORIES
GIVE: AN ASSERTIVE, EFFECTIVE COMMAND
If the child doesn’t respond, go into action
2.2 The Behaviouristic approach
These refer to manipulative or attention seeking behaviour such as tantrums or the sulk…
Child or adult will repeat behaviour that brings attention
We will rather have negative attention than no attention at all
Normally between 5 & 7 pm all conversations is negative: don’t do that…
The way to alter negative behaviour is to reward positive behaviour
Tantrums – pretend you don’t see it
Read a book, ignore
As soon as the child has calmed down say: What a lovely smile. Come and give me a hug. Let’s go and play
Gradually the child realizes he doesn’t get attention when being disruptive. I get attention when I am positive
BEWARE! The behaviour will get worse before it gets better
Have nerves of steel because they will think they are ignoring my tantrum I must be doing it wrong…
It will not work within 24 hours – rather 6-8 weeks – you are trying to change years of negative behaviour!
2.3 The Problem solving model
This method is used on teenage children.
Limits are adjusted to the child’s age
When a problem arises, instead of punishing, you settle down together and discuss the problem. Reach a solution together.
But, start this method at 4 years old.
E.g. child accidentally drops a bottle. Instead of punishing say: get a cloth and help me wipe
Encourage the child to seek solutions
3 HOW TO GIVE AN EFFECTIVE COMMAND
Children begin to realize when parents are serious.
They know that they have 5 chances before you get serious…
When the body is coming at me…
Voice is serious
If you don’t, they will never take you seriously
This is the KEY to discipline
What action is appropriate will depend on:
* Age of the child
* Nature of the offense
* Your belief system
Before a child is mobile – it is the parents that need to be disciplined – don’t go to the mall if the baby is hungry
Once they are mobile – have eyes in the back of your head – take your child away from the danger
Sometimes a smack is reinforcing your verbal communication – it is not to cause pain
This is NOT CHILD ABUSE – you can’t negotiate with a child wanting to run across a busy road
Don’t smack across the face – on the bum
Don’t use and instrument – you might hit harder than you think
Older children can be sent to the bedroom
Come out when you can say sorry and smile
When they refuse – go into your bedroom and say you will sit there until they can say sorry – this will freak them out!
Diverting attention helps when it is and offence of nuisance value
E.g. kicking ball in the house – let Dad invite him to play soccer in the garden
90% of action is diverting attention
You don’t want to be in confrontation with your child all day long
The older the child gets, limiting TV time and deducting pocket money works well
Males keep discipline better than females (because of body language)
But males tend to overreact
Instead of telling a teenager who missed curfew to come in earlier the next time she goes out, Dad gates her for the next two years – the poor girl’s chances of marriage may have blown over by that time…
Dads and children often have bad relationships due to harsh punishments Dads hand out
Women have a wonderful instinct for reasonable punishment – men be guided by your wives.
Rules for punishment
· Short just punishments are productive
· Long, harsh punishments are counter-productive
5 DIFFICULT SITUATIONS
5.1 Sibling rivalry
Sibling rivalry gives the child the opportunity to stand up for him/herself in a safe environment
Single children do not have this and often struggle with coping with peers and bullying
Advice: never interfere until blood is drawn – only get involved when the situation gets out of hand