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Evaluating your discipline techniques

Christina Holt is a blogger and freelance writer who lives in Southern California with her husband and three boys. Christina uses her love of design, adventures in parenting and teaching background as inspiration for her writing on numer...

Is your current method working?

Whether you're learning techniques for your toddler or evolving and reevaluating your strategies with your tween, these resources can help to make sure you're on track for your child's needs and your emotional well-being.
discipline

A New Year calls for an evaluation of not only your physical health, but your emotional health too.

Change is good: Disciplining a young child

As a young child grows, his needs and comprehension levels grow and change rapidly -- so does the need to implement or change a discipline routine. During these changes, you might find that whatever form of discipline worked a few months or weeks ago may not work anymore -- and what works for your older child will not work on your toddler.

Child

Dr. Harvey Karp, M.D. says in his book The Happiest Toddler on the Block, that it becomes quite clear when there's a need to implement discipline with your toddler. He believes that this occurs within months or days of your child becoming independent -- with the beginning stages of walking. "Your waddling wonder will start developing a new sense of power and defiance. And suddenly you may feel the need to learn how to discipline your little one without squashing her spirit -- or losing your mind."

Positive discipline: Why time-outs don't work >>

Actions and your discipline reactions

If you get angry, it's likely that your child will focus on your emotions instead of the consequence of the actions.

When disciplining your child, it's important to keep your reaction at a neutral level. The book 1-2-3 Magic: Effective discipline for children 2-12 better explains how children react to parents in reactionary and disciplinary situations.

"Have you ever seen a small child go down to the lake and throw rocks in the water? The big splashes are a sign of impact. [The children] are making that happen," says Thomas W. Phelan, Ph.D.

Dr. Phelan then describes the analogy and shows parents how it's tied to home life, "If a small child gets big, old you [the parent] upset, your upset is the big splash for him… having all that power temporarily rewards -- or feels good to -- the inferior part of the child."

Why are you tolerating your kids' bad behaviors? >>

Collaborative problem solving

The book The Explosive Child, by Ross W. Greene, Ph. D., gives parents tools and tips on how to understand and parent easily frustrated and inflexible children. This book goes into great detail about having empathy for your child's reactions in situations, helps parents to clearly define the problem at hand, encourages validation of your child's fears and gives create ways to invite your child to problem solve through different approaches. With these steps and a lot of thinking ahead, you can potentially get through defiant behaviors and explosive tantrums with ease and less frustration -- for both your child and you.

More discipline tips

  • Have back-up plans: What works at home may not work while you are out and about.
  • Think ahead: If you put your child in a situation or environment when he or she is tired, hungry or overstimulated, you can count on the need for some form of discipline.
  • Be consistent: Once you find a method that works best for your child at his or her current stage, be consistent.
  • Follow through with what you promise: If you give your child five minutes to calm down in another room, set a timer and stick to your promise.
  • Follow your instinct: What works for other children may not work for your children.

More on discipline

How to discipline toddlers, kids, tweens and teens
Avoiding power struggles: Parenting without bribes or threats
Should a parent discipline other people's children?

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