Discipline Tips

Read these 24 Discipline Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Single Parent tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How does discipline affect self-esteem?

Proper Discipline Adds Self-Esteem

Article by Jan Wilson at SOLO for Singles: The most important factors that contribute to self-esteem in children is discipline and setting limits for your children. “Children who are not disciplined, who do not have limits, cannot grow up with high self-esteem. They tend to be more dependent and feel that they have less control over their world. Kids, just like adults, are more confident when they feel they have control. Children will run into disapproval and cruelties in the world. They need the physical and emotional protection of rules and limits for self-esteem.”

   
How can discipline be positive?

Use Positive Discipline

Jan Wilson at SOLO for Singles writes “Children who are disciplined with only negative consequences or through negative talk may learn to behave but they often do it with a grudge against parents and with little internal self-esteem.“ Reward good behavior and praise a child for a job well done. Providing monetary rewards for good grades on report cards is one example. Or you may consider allowing an extra privilege for doing a good job on chores or fulfilling a responsibility. This encourages or reinforces good behavior.

   
How can I show love when I must discipline a child?

Discipline and Love

It is important that your children know they are loved, even during the times when they are being punished for incorrect actions. As long as a child knows he or she is loved, they will be able to accept the discipline much easier. Never, ever make a child feel that it is unwanted or unloved. Explain that it is because you love them that you are concerned that they follow specified guidelines for their safety and well being.

   
How can I make eating out more pleasant?

Whine-Free Waiting

To keep my 4-yr-old entertained while waiting for food to arrive in a restaurant, we play a simple game. First, I have her study the items on the table for a few minutes. Then, she closes her eyes, while I remove an item, such as a napkin, utensil, menu etc. When she opens her eyes she must guess what is missing. She also really enjoys reversing the game so that I do the guessing.

   
What are some examples in teaching lessons one at a time?

Teaching Lessons One by One

In teaching your child to take care of himself, you may want to start with making sure he/she brushes their teeth every day before going to school and perhaps makes their bed. Or you may need to start with teaching a child to put dirty clothes in the dirty laundry pile instead of leaving them lying on the floor. Later you can work on teaching them to put things away instead of dropping everything on the bedroom floor. And as they grow older, you can teach them how to do laundry and put things away themselves. Be sure to praise your child for a job well done and he/she will be more inclined to repeat the behavior.

   
How do I set boundaries and maintain them?

Setting Boundaries

It is your job as a parent to set boundaries for your children and then make sure the boundaries are maintained. If a child is told to look both ways before crossing the street, and doesn't, it is time to reaffirm the boundary. Discuss it with them and you may want to consider not allowing the child to cross the street unless accompanied by an adult until they learn the appropriate behavior. It shouldn't take but a few times for that lesson to be learned, and it may save your child's life!

   
Does discipline change as a child grows up?

Adapt Discipline to Age

Article by Jan Wilson at SOLO for Singles: “Gear discipline toward the age of your child. Your child at two needs a different kind of discipline that he/she will at five, ten, and fifteen years of age. If fact, each additional year of age will have you giving up control of your child's life to your child. Letting your child control his/her life in a manner suitable to age, is one more way to grow self-esteem.” Trying to make a 17-year old sit in a corner won't work, but taking away driving privileges will.

   
What if I cannot afford to buy everything my child wants?

Don't Overcompensate!

Don't give in to your child's every whim. Single parents often times are guilty of giving that extra toy or candy bar to replace the missing parent,which tends to spoil their kids in the process. You can't buy love for your child so don't try. Give them lots of love which comes from giving of yourself, not your money to satisfy their every whim. Teaching them love, responsiblity and respect will take them a lot further in life than trinkets! Their unhappiness over not getting a toy or candybar will soon fade. The values you teach them will remain with them forever.

   
Should I recognize good behavior instead of bad?

Reward Good Behavior

When your child does a good job completing chores, performs exceptionally well on school work, etc., consider providing some type of reward along with verbal praise for a job well done. Some possible rewards: a trip to the mall or movies, having friends over for a sleepover, staying up a hour past bedtime, a trip to the ice cream store, or even a new book or toy, etc. Select the reward based upon the child's age and interest. Providing rewards encourages them to repeat that good behavior.

   
Why is it important to start discipline early in a child´s life?

Lay the Groundwork Early

Jan Wilson at SOLO for Singles writes “School age children transfer more and more allegiance from their family to their peer group each year. By the time your child is a young teenager, you will have powerful competition from the peer group. That is the way it will be, like it or not. At this point your prior discipline should lead your teenager to self-control.” If you have done your job well, your teenager should be secure enough and have enough self-esteem to be able to stand up and say “NO” when the situation warrants it.

   
How do I explain discipline to a child?

Discussing Discipline with your Child

During less stressful times, talk with your child and help them to understand that it is because you love them that you enforce discipline; because part of your job is to help them grow and develop into a successful adult. If you did not love them, you would not care how they acted or what they did. Letting a child play with matches or around a hot stove will cause bodily harm and even death; therefore guidelines are needed to ensure your child's safety. Life is a learning process and the quicker we learn some lessons, the better.

   
What if the boundaries I set aren´t working?

Modify Boundaries As Needed

You may need to sit down and discuss the boundaries with your children and modify them if there is a troublesome boundary. Don't keep yelling about the problem, work together to find a solution that you both can agree on. Perhaps on weekends an 11 p.m. curfew is more appropriate than a 10 p.m. curfew. However if your child has a midnight curfew and keeps wanting to push it to 1 or 2 a.m., then you are asking for trouble if you compromise. There may be exceptions, but these should be rare. Remember you are the parent and consequently you should have more wisdom and maturity.

   
What can I do about tantrums?

Avoid Tantrums

Using stickers are great ways to get kids to do what you need them to do without resorting to bribery or anger. I purchased some "great job" stickers from the dollar store and with these 100+ stickers I reward my son (2 years old) for everything he does that is appropriate. When he balks at doing something (getting dressed, putting away toys, etc.), I only have to remind him that he will get a sticker if he does it and it works like a charm 98% of the time. The other 2% of the time nothing will work because he is being TWO!!!

   
Why will my kids not listen to me?

You Are the Boss

This tips comes from an article at Divorce Wizards website's entitled Single Parents Raise Good Kids Too! “Establish firm, clear boundaries that leave no doubt that you are the boss in the home. Single parents often make the mistake of allowing children to become equal partners or peers, and too many children are running the show. This leads to serious individual and family problems. Children need limits. Use consistent discipline that provides clear expectations and guidelines for behavior and rely on natural and logical consequences. Learn to say, “I love you enough to say NO to you.”

   
How can I encourage good behavior from older children?

Rewards for Older Children

Consider providing a reward for an older child providing childcare for younger siblings or doing additional chores around the house. While money is always nice, sometimes extra privileges and perks means more, which is nice for you if you happen to be running low on funds. Consider extra driving privileges, free tickets to the movies, allowing friends over for a party or sleepover, a special outing or concert free from babysitting responsibilities. The goal is to encourage good behavior by offering rewards and it is more likely to be repeated.

   
Is it okay to move the boundaries occasionally?

Establish Boundaries and Enforce Them

Once boundaries are established, don't be continually moving them. Don't threaten a child that if they don't stop a particular behavior there will be consequences. Many parents are guilty of not following up with the promised consequences. What this says to the child is that you really didn't mean it and that the boundary has been moved. If you are constantly moving the boundaries, the child ends up confused and doesn't know when you intend to follow up or if you ever will. More on the consequences tomorrow.

   
How can I maintain control without getting angry?

Avoid the Button Pushing

Children need boundaries and will continually push them until they find one that holds. Which means they will keep pushing your button, until it becomes explosive. And when the situation gets to the explosive point, you have both lost. Discipline in love, not in anger because your button has been pushed too many times. Follow up when the first boundary is pushed, not the last one of many. Both of your lives will be much happier and more peaceful.

   
I am too busy to keep track of time-out. Any suggestiions?

Time Those Time-Outs

Use a kitchen timer when putting your child in "time out." This prevents the problem of "forgetting" your child as you are trying to get other things done and it circumvents the "Can I get out now?" question. A timer is also good to use when children are fighting over television shows or video games. Set the timer and put the TV or video game into time out.

   
How can I get my child to improve their behavior?

One Step at a Time

Do not try to correct all your child's shortcomings at once. If you try tackling too much at once you both will end up frustrated and give up trying. Work on a few items at a time. Once those lessons are learned, you can move on to other areas that need improvement.

   
Why are boundaries important?

Importance of Boundaries

Children need boundaries in their lives. Just as important as knowing a certain room is their territory, such as their bedroom, kids need to know what the rules are and where you draw the line. Boundaries provide a sense of security. One important thing your child needs, along with love, is security. Expect the boundaries to be tested, but hold them firm.

   
Should my date discipline my kids?

Your Date and Child Discipline

When developing a serious relationship, you and your date need to spend some time together with the children to observe your date's relationship with your children. Consider it a red flag if they come on too strong and want to “rule the roost” and overrule your disciplinary efforts.

   
Is it okay to let my teenager make their own rules now?

Teenagers and Independence

Jan Wilson at SOLO for Singles writes “A young teen also needs independence. Teenagers rarely need as much independence as they want, but they do need an increasing opportunity to make their own decisions, and yes, even their own mistakes. It's a fact: the less willing you are to grant some independence to your teen, the more likely he or she is to rebel and take that independence anyway.” But don't get carried away and give them full authority over their lives. Your job is not finished yet. You may not be able to pick out their clothes or monitor what their eating habits, but you can still set curfews and insist they be accountable and responsible in doing homework, chores, etc.

   
How can I better discipline my children?

Discipline by Setting Boundaries

The next few tips will discuss boundaries that should be set for your children. Much of the information for these tips was derived from a couple of books by Dr. James Dobson, noted family and child psychologist.One book is entitled “Dare to Discipline” and the other is “The Strong-Willed Child.” Check the resource links to visit Dr. Dobson's website, or you should be able to find his books at local bookstores. If you are having problems defining and maintaining boundaries for your children, I highly recommend you consider investing in these books. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

   
What role can my date play in disciplining my children?

Your Date's Discipline Responsibility

If you are very lax in disciplining your children, you may want to seriously consider taking some pointers from your dating partner, but these should be discussed with you in private, never around the children. You then can choose to implement the suggestion if you agree with it or ignore it. A dating partner can assist you with the children by helping with homework, playing sports or games with them, or chauffeuring them someplace. Their only role in discipline at this point is to back you up, as the role and responsibility of disciplinarian belongs to the child's parent.

   
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