Saturday, February 2, 2013

Discipline Tactics

Many of the posts on this site are great reminders of things we (as a Teacher & a Parent) can use to make everyday life much easier. We all know how sometimes things can spiral out of control - kids are whining, demanding and time consuming. But the reward of 99 great days to 1 bad day is well worth it. Right?

Throughout my many years of caring for children - first as a daycare teacher for kids 0-9 and then as a Nanny for a wonderful little girl from the age of 4 to age 7 I learned a lot. One was to BE the adult and to take charge and the other was that things only get worse the more I get upset when the kids are already upset about some little thing. 

What do I mean?

When I was a nanny I found that I had a tendency to nag (just a little bit) and that I would raise my voice. Now I wasn't raised that way - I can't remember my dad ever raising his voice. Our house was very quiet, relaxed and calm. So why was I doing that? I was listening to Dr Dobson on KGBI one afternoon and something he said "stuck" in my head. 

"We are doing a real disservice to our children when we constantly yell at them, nag them and order them around. Children learn to "tune" us out and be disrespectful if we are going to treat them that way." (paraphrased - this was like 14 years ago I heard it) And it's true - is it any wonder that kids are more disrespectful at a younger age now? They treat other kids and adults the same way they are treated.

Another thing to consider is that when our kids get to school - how do they treat their teachers? Are they respectful, get their work done on time and neatly, kind and gentle to others? This is behavior they learn from their parents, siblings and the other adults in their life. 

So what can we do as parents & teachers at home to prepare for school and eventually the adult years?

1. Treat your children with respect - ie: don't nag, pull or yank them to where you want them. This is pretty basic but you wouldn't believe how many parents treat their kids this way. Sometime when you have a little time go into Walmart at 8 or 9 pm and watch parents who have their kids out - they are exhausted, crying (or screaming), they are yelling at their kids to stop doing this or doing that and gosh is it any wonder we have frustrated children?

Sleep safety: Sleeping of 7 year old boy

2. Have a set schedule (with just a little variance because life isn't always the same) - Children in the following age groups need:

  • Age 1-3 years:  12-14 hours of sleep (this 12 hours at night and a 2 hour nap)
  • Preschoolers: 11-13 hours of sleep (yes, they still need a nap even if they don't think they do) I have one 3 year old who takes a morning nap - usually 1-3 hours - she doesn't take an afternoon nap at all. She falls asleep during the morning school run and doesn't wake up when we get home & often she will doze off in the car during afternoon pick up. 
  • School Age to approximately age 10: 10-11 hours of sleep. If you want your children to succeed in school - they must be rested. 
This quote from a nytimes article refers to teenagers - but consider what these stats would do to your young elementary age child:

".... two sleep specialists, Amy R. Wolfson of the College of the Holy Cross and Mary A. Carskadon of Brown University, found that high school students who got poor grades slept an average of 25 minutes less and went to bed 40 minutes later than those who got A’s and B’s." read more here

Creating a Family Schedule:  Creating a Family Schedule that works for You: Day 4 – Activity List
Day 1: Developing the Vision 
Day 2: Narrow Your Path
Day 3: Establishing a Beginning and End - a wonderful article on sleep for the family and the effects of sleep deprivation.
Day 4: Activity List
Day 5: Adding it up….
Day 6: Redefining your Day
Day 7: The Schedule Comes Together

mother and son: mother and son

3. Be the Parent: I don't know how much more I can stress this. You are the final say - when you say NO mean NO and don't change your mind. If you ask your kids to do something expect them to do it and if they don't discipline them. If your child is being disrespectful, lying, stealing or acting out away from home (school, caregivers) don't just talk to them - this is when your discipline should be tough but fair. Make sure your child knows what the consequences for these behaviors are before the behavior occurs. Be sure to sit them down before school starts or before they go out with friends and remind them what is expected and what will happen if they don't follow those rules. 

I love this quote from Susan Case who guest posted on the blog: The Golden Gleam ~

“No means no. I don’t argue with children. I’m the adult.” The more this is repeated, the better it works. You can use empathy, but stick to your plan.

Make your request/get their attention no more than 2 times - 3 if your positive they did not hear you (like they are on a totally different floor and your yelling up the stairs). Require your children to LOOK at you and remain that way. If necessary require them to repeat your instructions. If they don't follow through and you have already indicated a consequence will occur ~ YOU follow through, make sure they do it and then walk away. You need to expect obedience and you will get it. The key to this is to NOT raise your voice - and teaching your kids that they may not argue, they are to listen and obey. No IF's, AND's or BUTs - except theirs doing what needs to be done.

You would be amazed at how much pressure is taken off you and the load on your shoulders will lighten once you become the Parent and your kids are put back in their place as the children.

You might find the following books & articles helpful:
  1. Bringing Up BoysBringing Up Girls and Parenting Isn't for Cowards by Dr James Dobson 
  2. How Much Sleep do Children Need? by WebMD
  3. How Much Sleep do We Really Need? by Nat'l Sleep Foundation (there is an amazing list of the effects of sleep deprivation in this article)  
  4. John Rosemond - he has great ideas for discipline problems.

Disclaimer: this post is in my own words with the exception of the quotes which contain links to the original post. Much thanks to rgbstock for the free stock photos. 

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