Do you feel your child is out of control? Punish him or her often and get no positive results? It might be your discipline strategy that is not working. Try using these positive discipline techniques:
- Set limits lovingly: explain in language that your child understands. Always focus on the behaviour you want them to change so they can see that the problem is external to them. For example “Please stop climbing on the couch” versus “Stop being silly!”
- Be realistic in your expectations (it’s probably unrealistic to expect that a 2 year old can sit still in a restaurant or that your 3 year old should be able to refrain from having a tantrum)
- Pick your battles: ask yourself how important is it that you “win” control of this situation
- Give choice and be willing to compromise- it’s not pandering to your child if you give them some choices, for example if they are refusing to eat their peas then give them a choice of another green vegies instead.
- Be available to your child. Be careful that you are not giving more attention to your child’s negative behaviours than their positive behaviours. Children crave your attention, whether it’s negative or positive they simply want to know you are noticing them. Make sure they know that they don’t have to act out to get your attention.
- Ask yourself what the function of their behaviour is? Generally when children consistently misbehave there is usually something else going on or it is serving a purpose. Is there conflict between you and your spouse that your child is picking up on? If so children will often play up in an attempt to unite their parents. Have there been any sudden changes, such as moving house, changing schools, absence of one parent? Children do not like change and often feel like they have very little control over anything that happens in their lives. Food strikes, refusal to go to bed, hitting etc is all a way for them to attempt to gain control if they are feeling like their life is out of their control.
Jessica is a member of CAPA (the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Association of NSW) with a Bachelor of Psychology from the University of Sydney and near completing her Masters of Applied Psychotherapy and Counselling from the Jansen Newman Institute. Jessica currently divides her time working part time for a leading private psychiatric hospital in Sydney and her two year old son Toby. She has extensive experience working with a wide range of presenting problems.
For more information go to: http://www.sydneycounsellingandpsychotherapy.org/index.html