Discipline Part 1
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Discuss practical methods of discipline based on age.
Does discipline equal punishment?
- No: discipline is about teaching children appropriate behavior.
- While discipline can be about eliminating negative behaviors, it is also about reinforcing positive behaviors.
- Positive reinforcement can be verbal (“I’m so proud of you”) or physical (using a token economy or reward chart).
How early can one start to discipline a child?
- Talk about discipline with families as early as the newborn visit.
- Good discipline starts with good relationships, which are fostered from birth.
- setting routines in infancy (ie: feeding, changing, bathing, bed) helps set a framework for daily habits.
- As the child gets older, daily routines naturally help set a ground rule for a parents’ expectation of their child (play time, dinner time, bath time, homework, bedtime etc).
In order for discipline to be effective, it should:
- Be consistent.
- Be carried out by a calm parent or caregiver.
- Have explicit expectations outlined from the beginning.
- Be developmentally appropriate (see age breakdowns below).
Tips for realistic discipline by age
|1-2 year old||
|2-5 year old||
|5-8 year old||
|Preteens and Teenagers||
What is the most effective way to carry out a time-out?
- As a family, decide on a few behaviors that are time-out worthy (e.g. aggression towards another sibling, not helping to clean up).
- Pick one spot that is not entertaining and talk about this spot with the child ahead of time.
- If the child is performing a time-out worthy behavior, give the child a warning and if the behavior continues, follow through with the time out.
- Explain what the time-out is for (e.g. “you are going on time-out because you hit your brother.”)
- Once the child is in time-out, do not engage the child.
- Once the time-out is over, there is no need for a big discussion.
- The caveat to this is if the child has engaged in a dangerous behavior; it is better to bring it up the next day in the context of a general discussion about the behavior as opposed to the event that occurred.
How long should a child stay in time-out?
- A child should stay in time out for a minute per age; (e.g. a two year old child would have a two minute time out). This technique is best for children two to five years of age.
What is a good example of positive reinforcement?
- “If you sit quietly during church, we will get pizza afterwards”
- As always, set the expectations upfront and be consistent with follow through.
- Positive reinforcement is only positive if you do it.
What is a good example of setting explicit expectations?
- When a parent says “please clean your room” the child may look around the room, feel as though the room is clean and therefore do nothing.
- A better approach may be to say “please pick up all of your books and hang up all of your clothes.”
- This way, the expectation is explicit.