Taking on the responsibility of being a parent is no easy task. Just a mere glance at any ‘parenting’ section of a bookstore and you can be completely overwhelmed by the wide spectrum of opinions and thoughts on the subject. In my own experience of being a father, I was constantly asking, “What on earth is the right way to go?”
In my life, and my own up-bringing, I can certainly tell you what types of child discipline didn’t work. I would have been easily categorized as having defiant child syndrome, but when I was a boy, those like me were all getting labeled with ADD instead. My parents sent me to numerous counselors and tried numerous techniques to ‘cure’ me of my blatant defiance and violence, but in the end there wasn’t any magic technique that worked.
So what is the right way? What are good techniques for the discipline of a defiant child? How about for any child for that matter?
A friend and mentor gave me some exceptionally good advice. As my kids were getting out of the toddler phase and becoming these tiny people with big opinions of their own, I noticed this man’s children. His kids are good and solid kids. Some are now adults, and they’re great adults. They’re open to criticism, yet confident and strong enough to hold their own. I asked him how he did it.
He told me to keep my eyes open for kids that display attributes that I want my children to have. When I see it, go to their parents and ask what they do, and then, listen.
He said that that alone is one of the best techniques for developing good child discipline, to listen. Listen to criticism. Listen to friends. Listen to them. The thing is, often, we’re so close to the situation that we don’t see it clearly.
The other thing that he said was to be consistent. He mentioned that all of the parents he respected all had two things in common. First, they loved their children intensely. And secondly, they were very consistent in the discipline that they would execute.
One major problem is that parents keep trying new things, and keep changing it up. The child never has a chance to know what to expect for defiant or rebellious behavior. Consistency gives the child a chance to believe that what the parent says is actually true, and this fact will conquer nearly any obstacle with the child.
If the child thinks you’re just guessing, and that you don’t really mean what you say, they’re going to constantly test you. And testing is simply the child asking, “Can I trust you?” They want to trust us parents. They want real boundaries and to know where they’re safe to run around, and where they’re most definitely not.
Give them clear guidelines, and stick to your guns. My three little girls have challenged my emotions tremendously, and I’ve seen, time and time again that when I follow through on my threats, the first time, they always respect them the next time. Always.
Since adopting this more and more in my life, I’m finding that I don’t have to repeat myself with them all of the time. I’m not worrying about getting them to like me, they instead, respect me. And our love has grown deeper as a result. For more on ways to manage defiant children and tips on improving child behavior, please visit the personal development site – Prosperity Hut.