An excerpt from her e-book “Avoiding the Baby Battles”, Michelle Layhe offers up these helpful tips for parents on the subject of discipline.
If it is not possible to agree then the parents should consider the idea of agreeing to disagree on some of the elements within this platform of discipline, or alternatively decide on leaving the discipline to one party only.
However this is never an ideal solution and should only be used as a last resort where both parties are unable to agree on one particular style.
Children today are very smart little humans and they will catch on very quickly on any crack within the solidarity stand parent take on the issue of disciple.
This will of course lead to the children learning how to play one parent of the other in order to get what they want which is almost always not good for them in the long run.
Therefore in the quest to present a united front, both parents have a duty to first agree on a set of disciplinary formats that will be used throughout the upbringing of the children.
The following are a few tips on how to go about this very tricky business of disciplining children:
The first thing to practice would be to disagree on any disciple issue privately. This is very important as the idea would be to present a united front when facing the child on a discipline issue.
Second, BE CONSISTANT. If you are lax with creating the rules and then too with the consequences that were set in place, the children will be as well. Discuss which rules you want to have in place and how you will determine the consequences if said rules are disobeyed. And then agree not to allow those big, beautiful eyes or those sad crocodile tears to deter you.
Third, your children will learn more from what you do than from what you say. They are constantly watching adult behavior to learn how to behave. Be sure that both parents are setting a good example and are offering up rules that are followed and can be taught by all living in the household. Beware of “do as I say, not as I do” behavior.
Fourth, set up the rules and consequences as early as possible. Don’t wait. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be. You end up re-programming that something that used to be acceptable is no longer allowed. It may seem too early to begin, but the sooner you begin the better. It is easy to overlook bad behavior at a younger age, because, “they’re so young,” “isn’t he cute?” “she doesn’t understand”, but you are really sending mixed messages. Again, be consistant.
Another important point would be to decide which party would take the lead in the actual discipline exercise and ensure this elected party completes the whole process.
Ideally there is be no shift in the lead position, as this will be deemed a weakness and the child will learn how to manipulate this perceived weak link to their advantage.
The consistency of the method of discipline should also be discussed and meted out accordingly. Children are more inclined to listen and obey when there is a level of consistently evident.
And one final note on discipline; don’t turn everything into a “red pencil” mentality. Don’t forget to look for and reward the good. If you are only looking for the bad things and the disciplinary measures to be taken, then you are missing out on some of the best parts of parenting and setting your children up to fail.