8 important Do’s and Don’ts of Disciplining Your Child
5 important Do’s and Don’ts of Disciplining Your Child
Disciplining is all about immersive and engaging parenting
Eight ways you can redefine your approach towards parenting for a more responsive and disciplined child
Parenting is neither an art nor a science, it is a state of being. Parenting is not just about providing for the material needs of the children, it is an engaging and immersive experience of nurturing the child in an atmosphere that is conducive to their wholesome growth.
Disciplining is synonymous with parenting, it is inherent and intrinsic to how parents engage with their children. However, disciplining is not a separate faculty but it is the very act of parenting itself. And the best way of disciplining is showing them the way.
Seeing is doing
Human beings normally act and learn from what they see, and naturally children do the same – seeing, observing, learning, imitating and growing.
From day one, all they do is see, hear and absorb. Their minds constantly feed on what they see as the norm. Gradually, as they grow, they start imitating and following what they see, hear and observe.
This is how they acquire most of their knowledge and behaviour – they see, they hear and they do.
As they grow up, they would basically try to do what you are doing. They would want to dress like you. They would want to drive your car, if they see you talking on phone they would copy that. They see their mother cooking, they start stirring their toy pots, they see their father with a laptop they would want to grab that.
If they have older siblings, they generally would want everything that their siblings do and have. This is normal human behaviour.
But, as they grow up further, their exposure expands, they start experiencing more than what their families have to offer them.
With time, they are exposed to new sources of influence. They start learning from friends, cartoons, fictional characters, social media influencers, movie stars etc.
As their exposure grows, they start adopting new trends and practices, their ideas evolve and out of this myriad milieu emerge the girl’s or boy’s distinct personality, temperament and nature.
They start to have their own opinions and thoughts that could sometimes contradict with our own long held views or evolved family traditions. This is where the possibilities of conflicts start.
This is where the real challenge of parenting begins…
Do not confront
When two or more people engage and live or work together, the sparks will definitely fly. All the more, if the girl or boy is assertive or has been used to having their way all along.
This is where you would want to assert yourself. This is when your ego would want to show the child his/her place.
But, as a father or mother, this is exactly the time to calm down and take a step back.
This is the time to REFLECT and take a look at your approach as a parent and give the child some extra space.
Do not rush to conclusions or react to their tendencies immediately. Understand where the child’s behaviour is coming from, try to gain access to his/her heart and mind.
Know that, the children, especially those approaching or going through teenage, are struggling with constant harmonal surges and internal changes. They are coming to terms with all the new and sudden impulses their hearts and bodies are going through. This is the stage when they need our biggest support.
The first step to take in this regard is to be patient and considerate with the eccentricities of your children, knowing fully well that the Almighty is patient with your shortcomings and excesses.
We want the people around us to empathise with us and give space to our individualities and absurdities, but how much space and empathy are we willing to give our children, who are still at a formative age, still struggling to understand their own strengths and weakness, still figuring out their own likes and dislikes, still unaware of the meanings of their yearnings and longings?
Our children need our help, but that help should not come in the form of force feeding or spoon feeding all the time. Our assistance shouldn’t always take the shape of hurdles and too many restrictions. Our urge to see their good shouldn’t lead to us being over-possessive about them.
Our job, as parents is to create a safe, healthy and conducive atmosphere for them to explore, learn, unlearn, understand, misunderstand, ask, find fault with themselves and us, correct themselves, share their opinions fearlessly and grow as individuals with their own unique personalities.
No two people are the same, even if they are identical twins, we have to give due consideration to their natural eccentricities.
When we are handling children, we need to keep reminding ourselves that we are handling delicate, complex and fragile human beings, who are going through the formative process and are constantly changing and transforming.
Pillar of support
Parents are the greatest support system that our Creator designed for children. Step up and step in, become that support system, rather than becoming an impediment or an adversary.
Try to see the challenges, influences and constraints the child is growing under and initiate a studied approach.
Work with the delicate implements and deft touches of a jeweller and not the hammer and chisel of a blacksmith. The idea is to develop the children, not to destruct them!
Obviously, keeping in mind the child’s limited understandings, susceptibility to various influences and impressionable tendencies, which is part of learning and growing up, you can’t allow them to have their way all the time. That is understandable.
But, what is not understandable is our instinct to curb everything that they try to do independently.
What is not understandable is our lack of efforts in not changing our behaviour to model theirs!
Be the role model
Rather than curbing their instincts and forcing them to realign their behaviour, we have to focus on how we change ourselves and adapt to the changing realities around us, so that they continue to imitate us in what is good for them!
We expect them to have perfect behaviour, but we ourselves don’t set an example for that. Do we work constantly on perfecting our behaviour?
We ask them to stay away from screens while we are glued to the screens ourselves.
We want them to read more and acquire knowledge, while they hardly see us reading!
We want them to have discipline in their lives, while we hardly regulate our impulses and desires!
Parenting is nothing but human development and to help those under us develop, we must continue to develop as humans simultaneously.
The moment we stop developing, we start degenerating. A decaying seed cannot be expected to groom a flowering, fruit-bearing tree.
The way forward could be to build an atmosphere of dialogue and engagement at home. Build a relationship that is beyond parental interviews about daily activities. Show interest in what they do, seek their opinion in domestic matters, value their opinion.
Act on their suggestions on at least small matters, even when you know it is not the best of suggestions.
Genuinely try to understand their perspective and empathise with them. Be there for them, tell them it’s OK to make mistakes. Tell them it’s alright to fail. Tell them that their sincere attempt and honest work is more important than the result. Do not pressurise them to score, allow them to learn.
If they sin, do not look down upon them, tell them it’s human to err, show them how to seek forgiveness and how to learn from mistakes.
As parents, knowingly or unknowingly we transgress our bounds many a time. Be quick to admit your mistakes, show courage to say sorry to your children when you have violated their rights, don’t hesitate. Know that, in doing so, you will not fall, rather rise in their eyes. Know that, by seeking forgiveness you are showing the path of humility to them.
Do not belittle your children’s achievements. No matter how small the achievement, encourage them to do better. Do not compare them with anyone else, either their siblings, their friends or classmates.
Appreciate them for who they are and appreciate the little things they do.
Do not criticise or scold them in front of others, do not complain about them to others, do not point at their perceived shortcomings to others when they are around.
Remember that they too are humans and their ego and dignity can hurt and once you do that, it is difficult for them to trust you or confide in you again or be themselves when you are around.
Don’t use sarcastic or deprecating language, don’t taunt them. Build an atmosphere of cooperation and collaboration. Teach them how to do things by doing things yourself.
Let it go…
When there is a disagreement, do not let it linger. Take initiative to resolve, don’t expect them to come and say sorry just because they are your children. On most occasions, they won’t approach you out of fear or respect, don’t assume it as disrespect.
Do not let tension build up, compromise on matters that are not life and death or matters that won’t bring your house down. Do not let your ego and anger drive your decisions. Don’t be a dictator at home!
More than our iron grip and firm control, our children need our understanding, gentleness and compassion.