As promised in our last post, we’ve got four more steps for discipline in the home, brought to you by Dr. Katharine C Kersey, the author of “The 101s: A Guide to Positive Discipline and Jim Fay, the founder of the organization Love and Logic.
1.Give Attention To Behavior You Like and Ignore Behavior You Dislike
A lot of the time, children act our because they want attention, so it can pay to ignore the actions you don’t want to see more of. Kersey calls this the “Rain on the grass, not on the weeds” principle. Tantrums and whining call for playing deaf or walking away. This will help your child learn that there’s a better way to communicate.
2. Replace Bad Behavior With Positive Behavior
Just saying “no” or “don’t” all the time might be ineffective because kids start to tune those words out. Instead of telling your little ones what not to do, Kersey recommends offering a positive alternative to replace the bad behavior. For instance, if your child is acting up at the grocery store, you could make them help gather things from your grocery list or push the cart. Redirect their attention from the bad behavior to something new.
3. Exploit the “energy drain”
Dealing with tantrums and misbehavior can be quite exhausting. Fay says we can use that exhaustion to our advantage. Fay calls it the “energy drain” principle. For example, you might defuse a sibling fight by saying “wow, you need to take that fight with your brother somewhere else, because listening to that could cause me a big energy drain and I don’t think I’ll have enough energy to take you to get ice cream after dinner.” The reasoning behind this is that your child cares more about getting ice cream after dinner than they do about fighting with their sibling so they will most-likely stop.
4. Don’t Bribe
Bribing is very tempting but Fay says it can send the wrong message and form unhealthy habits and expectations for the child. What kids hear is “You don’t want to be very good and you have to be paid off.” Instead, “the best reward for a kid is time with the parents.” Kersey says parents should spend at least 15 minutes of quality time with their children a day. This should be a one-on-one bonding time.
The best investment you can make in your child is spending quality time with them and listening to them and really knowing them.