Start discipline off right by taking the "no" out

Written by: Brandon Combs

When my children were in preschool, it seemed I was always one step behind my kids when it came to discipline.

"No jumping on the couch!” “Stop fighting!” and  “Put your brother down!!!” My kids always seemed to have a "reason" for their misbehavior,  ie., "I’m not jumping", "he started it", and "he likes it". 

So any “no, don’t or stop” from me cultivated an argument – yes you are jumping; or a discussion -- he started what; or a screaming match -- PUT HIM DOWN NOW!!! In fact, much of what I said to the kids started with no, don’t or stop.

At Tuesday’s Child, I learned to use scripts that were encouraging and provided a clear message what my child should do.  

Examples of clear and simple instructions for your children so they quickly understand what TO DO:

  • "Use your walking feet"
  • "Use your gentle hands"
  • “Your feet belong on the floor” 
  • “Stop and listen to each other, do you need my help?”
  • “Your brother’s feet belong on the ground.  He is crying – he is not having fun.”  

Firmly reminding kids what they should be doing, instead of yelling out limits and restrictions changed the overall tone in my house. My kids were much more apt to listen to the encouraging mommy – instead of the mad mommy.

I also empowered my kids by letting them make their own choices and taught them about making good choices at the same time. When my 5 year old wanted a cookie 10 minutes before dinner, I didn’t say “No way, dinner is in 10 minutes” because that would send him into a tantrum. Instead, I said “that’s a great choice for after dinner, I’ll put it right here on the counter so we’ll remember its your dessert”.  

Written by JoAnne Loper.  She is the Director of Parent Training at Tuesday’s Child. She lives in Chicago and has four boys. Tuesday’s Child’s curriculum for parents and children is packed with practical advice for parents of spirited kids between the ages of 18 months and 6 years. It is the only program for parents that combines clinical expertise with individualized peer-to-peer support. In November there is a series of introductory workshops called Positive Parenting – Positive Results!  That will offer common sense solutions to everyday behavior problems like how to establish an effective morning routine, what behaviors we should ignore and how to encourage cooperation. Get more information here

Posted on October 22, 2012 at 1:17 PM