Disciplining Children


#1

What do you think in terms of disciplining children? What do you think is appropriate? Do you think certain measures are too harsh or too soft? How would it change for different age groups? Of course the most important thing here is what is best for the child, so keeping that in mind, what ways do you think are the most effective ways to discipline children/teens, etc.

Personally (though I’m a teen, and I don’t have children, so maybe I’m wrong), I think that parents are too soft these days…:shrug:


#2

And by soft I mean, many parents (i've personally noticed) don't care what their child is doing at all...


#3

same age group and i agree with you


#4

You're asking pretty broad questions. Of course disclipline is needing in raising children, but there are many many forms of discipline, and of course one type is appropriate for one developmental stage of a child, and the same type wouldn't be appropriate for an older child.

Discipline needs to be appropriate for the age and developmental phase of the child, as well as what the child did to be in need of some discipline.

For example, teaching a smaller child to go to bed at a certain time, consistently, may be by reading him or her a story before bed. This is still a form of discipline because you are establishing a good habit, but you're also compromising with the child. However, on a school night, if your 11 year old is not wanting to go to bed, you tell him or her get ready for bed anyway or a privelidge will be taken away.

Do you have a specific senario in mind?


#5

This is a great post. I was going to say something similar. Discipline appropriateness varies from child to child. In the school I worked in we had a saying “fair is not always equal.” I think that’s important to remember. One child may require one form of discipline while another requires something different in order to learn. The important thing is that discipline is used to teach and cause growth, rather than as revenge. I think so long as the discipline being given is done out of love and desire for growth, takes into account developmental appropriateness, and is not born out of anger, you’re going to be okay.

Of course, all of this is from a teacher-in-training’s standpoint :S lol


#6

My children are 10 & 7, I don't believe in corporal punishment, and I especially don't believe in name calling or belittling children. It doesn't work, anyway.

My punishments are usually "quality of life" things -- whatever my kids really value is the first to go, for example, bedtimes (MY daughter HATES early bedtime), bicycles, TV time, and visits with friends (No play dates tomorrow, etc).

Right now, my daughter is really into fish and has a fish tank. She has been very sassy this week and I told her I won't bring her to the fish store until she gets her sassy mouth under control (She has money from her Grandma that she wants to spend on fish, but I refuse to take her). She may get to go Sunday after Mass, I see she is trying hard!! :)


#7

Disciplining children is like pitching. There are certain fundamentals, but it's also about constant adjustment and knowing your hitter.


#8

[quote="Lutheranteach, post:7, topic:201662"]
Disciplining children is like pitching. There are certain fundamentals, but it's also about constant adjustment and knowing your hitter.

[/quote]

I really like this analogy and if you don't mind I would like to use it in the future. My dh teaches martial arts. Most parents come in because their children need discipline. Come to find out is because most parents do not want to say "No" or "Yes, you will" when it is needed. There are some things that should not be choices. While I do not raise my stepdaughter we had the - I am not your friend, I am an adult, you are a child argument a long time ago. It wasn't comfortable. She ran to daddy and daddy told her she was wrong. She also knows that I will never lie to her and that if she needs protecting and doesn't know how to ask for it she can come to me. And she has. So yes we have found our boundaries but I am not going to put myself as an adult on the same discipline level as an 11 year old and then wonder why I am listened to?


#9

Firm but fair and loving discipline has always been my goal through the years with my children, but it seems to be lacking in many homes these days unfortunately. There are many times when a parent must say NO and that’s it. Reasons may be given by the parent if necessary. Every toddler/child/teenager is different and requires slightly different approaches. Withholding of privileges is one excellent approach once a child reaches an age to understand it. Before that, it won’t do much good, so other firm but fair methods must be utilized instead.

Yelling is seldom very effective but also hard not to do. A better way is trying to keep a calm but firm voice if possible that says it like it is in no uncertain terms.

And disciplining begins from the moment a very young child reaches for something dangerous or does something he shouldn’t (such as hurt another person or throw a temper tantrum) and continues through the years from there with no days off. It could be said to begin from day one in insisting that a new baby sleep in his own crib or bassinet and not get used to sleeping in his parent’s bed.

The longer a parent waits to begin disciplining their child, the harder it will be and the more confused the child becomes about what is allowed and what isn’t. Our children have actually thanked my husband and I now that they are adults for being firm with them through the years, and their teachers and other adults often mentioned what “good, polite kids” they were as they were growing up. How sweet that was for us to hear, and it made our children happy and proud to hear it also!

Children are true blessings from God, but they don’t know proper rules until they’re taught by their parents!


#10

Well, first off it would be useful to state what discipline is and is not. Discipline does not mean the same thing as punishment even though punishment is a subset of discipline. Discipline is much more broad.

Discipline could be better thought of in terms of how Jesus often put things: As a “grower” in charge of a tree or vine. Wayward branches need to literally be “nipped at the bud” but those that are growing in the way they should be can be left to grow or encouraged. The plant needs adequate, but not too much, light, fertilizer, and water. Sometimes it has to be cut back but other times is allowed to grow as it will. A very young plant will need special care (perhaps being staked) and will sometimes need to be physically forced to grow a certain way. An older plant probably just needs some occasional maintenance.

All that said, children ARE rather like plants. They have individual needs based on who they are. Most are going to need some physical discipline but there will probably be some who never do or who would be harmed by it more than helped. Most will need to be “staked” while young for their own protection. They will all need proper nourishment (physical, mental, and spiritual) but the requirements will be individual. Just as with plants, control and nourishment needs will depend on the environment.

As usual I am being very vague, but disciplining children is a science, not just a set of rules.


#11

Consistency is most important. Set ground rules and don't vary.


#12

[quote="joandarc2008, post:8, topic:201662"]
My dh teaches martial arts. Most parents come in because their children need discipline. Come to find out is because most parents do not want to say "No" or "Yes, you will" when it is needed....

[/quote]

Then they wonder why their child stays under control for their teacher or coach, but not for the parent.

[quote="dachsiemom2, post:11, topic:201662"]
Consistency is most important. Set ground rules and don't vary.

[/quote]

Absolutely. The way I look at it, I teach my kids what to expect. If there is no rhyme or reason to the consequences their actions bring, then they will decide far more often that the gamble is worth it.

If you give your child a warning every time they misbehave, and only then apply consequences after the second offense, the child will learn that one "mistake" is "allowed". Rather, they should know that any second chances they get are an occasional gift, not a given.

You can also let your kids know that they teach you how much to trust them. This involves giving them feedback, both positive and negative. When you let them do what they want up until the last minute, then promptly transition to whatever they're supposed to be doing--getting ready for bed, doing their chores, whatever--then you tell them, "You promised you'd get ready for bed right away if I gave you extra time, and you kept your promise. You've just taught me that I can trust you to do what you say when the time comes. Good job. Thank you." When you let them watch TV for a half an hour before doing homework, and you never have to nag them a word to get going when the time has come, you tell them that they've taught you to trust them there.

You should always set consequences so that things can still get better or still get worse. If you apply the worst consequence right off the bat, then there is nothing you can do when the child goes ballistic. If you lighten the consequence if the child makes an honest effort to reform, then the child learns that good faith repentance is worth the effort.

Sometimes, if the child digs himself into a huge hole, you have to show them the way out of it. You don't let him off, but you can tone down the drama and let him know that there is a path to redemption.


#13

Then they wonder why their child stays under control for their teacher or coach, but not for the parent

That's also why my dh tries to spend time "coaching" parents as well.


#14

It's necessary to always follow through with everything that you say you're going to do - which means, never tell a kid you are going to do something that you can't or won't do, whether it's taking him to the movies every Saturday, or grounding him for life.

I remember a speaker talking about this issue one time and recalling that his mother once became so frustrated that she told him if he did thus and so one more time, she was going to throw him out a window into the snow.

Well, he did it one more time - so, she opened a window, and gently lowered him out the window, into the snow. It was at that point that he realized that, although she would never hurt him intentionally, she would always try to do whatever she told him she was going to do. He never doubted her word again, and became quite well-behaved. :)


#15

[quote="joandarc2008, post:13, topic:201662"]
That's also why my dh tries to spend time "coaching" parents as well.

[/quote]

And Heaven smiles, of that we can be sure.


#16

[quote="jmcrae, post:14, topic:201662"]
It's necessary to always follow through with everything that you say you're going to do - which means, never tell a kid you are going to do something that you can't or won't do, whether it's taking him to the movies every Saturday, or grounding him for life.

I remember a speaker talking about this issue one time and recalling that his mother once became so frustrated that she told him if he did thus and so one more time, she was going to throw him out a window into the snow.

Well, he did it one more time - so, she opened a window, and gently lowered him out the window, into the snow. It was at that point that he realized that, although she would never hurt him intentionally, she would always try to do whatever she told him she was going to do. He never doubted her word again, and became quite well-behaved. :)

[/quote]

Cute story. I agree 100%.

While watching a little league baseball game and a breezy chilly day, I heard a Mom tell her very adorable 3 year old that she, "needed to keep her sweater on because it was cold." Three year old would take it off... Mom would put it back on. Finally the Mom looked her right in the eye and said, "If you take that sweater off one more time, I am going to take you to the car and we'll sit in there where it's warm." Three year old took 10 steps from Mom, turned, back toward her, slowly took off her sweater and dropped it to the ground while looking RIGHT at the Mom with a big smile on her face. I'm watching the whole thing.. Mom turns to me and says, "Oh well.. she must not be cold?" And never moved off her chair.

THAT is how a disobedient, bratty child is made.

It's all about the follow through. Parents need to pick their battles.. the child may not have been cold, but once the Mom gave the command, the child needed to obey OR sit in the car. Because rather than teaching the child the Mom was in charge, that adorable little 3 year old is being taught that SHE is in charge. If that Mom doesn't turn that ship around, she is in for quite a treat when her daughter is 14.


#17

Be firm and consistent, but loving. Expect good manners from your children, it is a gift that keeps on giving. Whether spanking or no, try to discipline in a way that doesn't humiliate the child. And NEVER talk about how misbehaved your children are to other people, especially where your children can hear you. Always expect good behavior as a matter of course from your children. They may just surprise you!


#18

And she’s going to wonder, in future years, how that happened. :shrug:

Her mistake was to have made a threat that she had no intention of following through on.

I have gotten results simply by telling kids “If you do that one more time, I’m going to give a great sigh of exasperation, roll my eyes, tilt my head at you, and give you a dirty look.” (Which is, let’s face it, exactly what I was going to do anyway - it’s not a “punishment” - that’s just what I do when I’m upset.) So, they do it again, and I do my exasperated thing, and then it’s like, “Oh. You really did do that.” No kidding. What were you actually expecting me to do? (Exasperated look, again.) :shrug:


#19

[quote="yellowbird, post:16, topic:201662"]
Cute story. I agree 100%.

While watching a little league baseball game and a breezy chilly day, I heard a Mom tell her very adorable 3 year old that she, "needed to keep her sweater on because it was cold." Three year old would take it off... Mom would put it back on. Finally the Mom looked her right in the eye and said, "If you take that sweater off one more time, I am going to take you to the car and we'll sit in there where it's warm." Three year old took 10 steps from Mom, turned, back toward her, slowly took off her sweater and dropped it to the ground while looking RIGHT at the Mom with a big smile on her face. I'm watching the whole thing.. Mom turns to me and says, "Oh well.. she must not be cold?" And never moved off her chair.

THAT is how a disobedient, bratty child is made.

It's all about the follow through. Parents need to pick their battles.. the child may not have been cold, but once the Mom gave the command, the child needed to obey OR sit in the car. Because rather than teaching the child the Mom was in charge, that adorable little 3 year old is being taught that SHE is in charge. If that Mom doesn't turn that ship around, she is in for quite a treat when her daughter is 14.

[/quote]

Fourteen can be a rough age even when there has been discipline. When the child has been trained that she will always win if she just hangs in there....oh, man.

Parents have to remember that they choose when there will be a battle of wills. When you choose one, never lose. If the child wins some of the time, you will be tested far more often that if they never win.

Those of you who remember your psychology classes will remember that the hardest behavior to extinguish is behavior that is rewarded irregularly. If you give a lab rat a little peanut machine with a bar that it taps a certain number of times to get a peanut, then turn off the peanuts, it will take a certain amount of time before the rat gives up on tapping the bar. But if the payoff is irregular, like a slot machine, it takes much, much longer for the rat to give up. The thing is like a gambler, always thinking that THIS time will be its lucky time. We humans are like that, too. This is why consistency is so important.

Children do have to have some room to let us know that they would rather do things a way other than what we have chosen. In order to do this without getting attempted mutinies when we propose unpopular plans or judgements, our children needs to be taught that there is a time, a place, and a way to make their objections to adult directives known. They need to know that they will only be heard if they object in a way that one might object to a coach, a police officer, or anyone else in authority. If they are allowed to change our minds when their objections are reasonable, their tactics are polite, and their timing is appropriate, then there won't be the resentment there would be if they had no way to be heard. They will also get the experience to object decently with those in authority when they are old enough to do so. They will win some and lose some, but they'll learn to win and lose without making enemies they didn't have to have.


#20

[quote="EasterJoy, post:15, topic:201662"]
And Heaven smiles, of that we can be sure.

[/quote]

Unfortunately you know what they say about teaching old dogs new tricks! :p


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.