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Is there a best way to discipline your child?

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No two children are alike. That is why parents sometimes adjust the way they discipline their kids based on what works for each child.

“Unfortunately, there is no one recipe,” says the mother of a 5-year-old son and a 3-year-old daughter. “My son is so easy to discipline. I just have to talk to him about the incident and its consequences. [My daughter], on the other hand, is such a whiner! It’s so hard to discipline her. Up to now, I still don’t know how to best deal with her!”

It is possible, too, that you and your spouse will not agree on what tactic to use. The key is to understand what it is you want your children to learn and then agree on the best way both of you can follow through. Read up on different methods to see what works for you. Then, once you have decided, always, always be consistent.

Here’s how other parents (whose names have been changed to protect their privacy) discipline their kids.

1.    Positive reinforcement and withdrawal of privileges

Doreen used to put her 7-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son on timeouts, but now she says they’re too old for this. So what she does is “heap praises for jobs well done.” In addition, “I try to show how their hard work has paid off when they really accomplish something noteworthy.”

When that doesn’t work and reminders are ignored, she and her husband resort to withholding privileges like TV and playtime.

2.     Explanations and disappointment

Paulina, 9, responds well to a good talk and a disappointed scowl, says her dad Michael. “For us, the best and most effective way is telling her the truth,” he says. “We just explain things why Paulina can and cannot do some things.”

He also sets the example by apologizing to her when he gets mad and letting her know why. “In that way, I hope that in the future, she will not be afraid to tell us what she did. At the same time, it will help her develop critical thinking about what is right and wrong.”

It helps that Michael doesn’t lose his temper easily. “So so she knows that when I do get mad, what she’s doing is wrong.”

3.     Spanking

While corporal punishment is controversial, Veronica and her husband ascribe to it. “[We] believe that till a certain age, like say, 6 or 7, a child needs to feel a bit of punishment. Never hard and always just on the buttocks with the hands, not a rod/stick/belt. Not on the other parts of the body too like the arms, legs, and face—just the bottom. That way, we feel the stinging sensation too and get hurt by the gesture as much as our children.”

She believes that very young children are really unable to understand reprimands. A little spanking—and the threat of it—makes enforcing disciple a lot easier, Veronica says. “All we have to do to make our kids follow us is ask, ‘You want “palo”?’ and they get it right away. They know they have to behave and follow their parents, otherwise, they will get a smack on the butt.”

4.    Timeout

For Therese, mom to three boys, having her extremely active 4-year-old stand on the corner gets results. “[It’s] really difficult for him,” she explains. “If he misbehaves more, he stands on a stool in a corner.”

5.    All for one, one for all

Therese has also implemented a rule that if one of the boys gets into trouble, everybody else will. “When the 8-year-old misbehaves, we turn around and head home instead of going on our planned TimeZone trip,” she says. “They now remind each other to behave or as they say, ‘Quit it before mommy finds out or hears us fighting!’"

In the same manner, all three boys get rewarded when one does well. “My eldest did very well at school, so everyone got a prize,” she recalls. “My second son kept thanking his older brother for studying well. It was nice hearing them talk like that.”

6.    Getting grounded

Sheila’s 11-year-old daughter gets grounded when she misbehaves.  “She has always, always, always loved to push me to the limit, hence, she gets grounded a lot! Because she apologizes instantly, I still ground her. Sometimes, I believe her apology is sincere, then I let her off easy, but when I know it’s because she wants something, she gets a longer punishment.”

 




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