Upbringing Your Child

Age-Appropriate Discipline – the Do’s and Dont’s

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If taking away Ali’s toys doesn’t make him miss them or talking to Sara about changing her behavior doesn’t seem to sink in, what do you do?? If only there are any parent management workshops to tame difficult children *you wish*.

We all know that there is no one way to deal with children as each situation requires you to respond differently. It is easy to say ‘praise your children every time they behave well’ or ‘reprimanding children is not the way to discipline’ but in real life the negativity bias doesn’t make it as easy. Disciplining children is considered a dilemma but the simpler you treat it the simpler it gets and for that you need to know the do’s and don’ts for all the challenges children put you through at every age. Use these guidelines if you are stumped about dealing with your mischievous ones and see how they work!

It is exciting yet scary to see your ten/eighteen month old waggling the pampered butt under a table or bed exploring every dangerous nook and cranny.

Don’t: The constant chorus of the word NO strips it off its power. Don’t use too many NO-NO’s. Avoid yelling or hitting as they are too young to understand the connection between actions and punishments.

Do: Teach them more than a NO… words like ‘HOT, BAD, GOOD, WOW’ etc. with suitable actions and tone of voice make it easier for babies to understand and they become more receptive and responsive to new learning. Use suitable distractions and positive reinforcement to stop your bundle of joy from moving into the danger zones of the house.

When your toddlers and preschoolers listen to new words or actions they imitate and everything these adorable kids do seems funny! We know how much these little ones love attention but, is too much attention healthy?!

Don’t: Not all actions should be laughed on and limitations should be set. Don’t change your rules according to your mood or gatherings.

Do: It is important you set clear rules and consistently follow them. Reprimands like stern looks or time-outs are necessary whenever your child misbehaves. Children learn more from warnings in the short term as compared to being rewarded and praised every time they do a good deed, however it is important to maintain a balance. Also, give them jobs-to-do and keep them occupied as they are ready to be helpful at this age.

Dealing with children of age group 5 to 10 can be frustrating. They may want to drag the trolley all around the supermarket or play ball indoors, they may throw tantrums while going to school or they may not bother completing their homework on time!

Don’t: You cannot expect children to behave like adults or be responsible at this age. Unrealistic threats which you may not follow, like, ‘you will never play with Gameboy if you jump on the bed’ don’t work.

Do: At this age children clearly understand the connections between actions and punishments hence you need to make the most of it. Remember, consistency is crucial! If you have threatened your child, make sure you actually exercise the threat. Go for mild punishments as these motivate children to alter their behavior, if you get too harsh they may start thinking they have nothing to lose and continue misbehaving.

The tween years of children can be a difficult time for parents due to the muddled emotions and physical changes. This is the time you get to predict what your to-be teen will be like. Remember, whatever happens to your sweet little one in these maturing years may be normal but not always acceptable!

Don’t: Continuous interference can suffocate a child and too much freedom can make him or her forget family values. Don’t give in or negotiate at any given time!

Do: Its is time to cut the slack a little and understand what your child is going through at this age, the extra schoolwork, homework, activities, tuitions and the peer pressure! They need an outlet and it’s your responsibility to listen. Setting firm boundaries is important and rules should be treated as rules, we call it ‘tough love’.

The eye-rolling, sulking, arguing and rebelling teenagers require you to make quite a few adjustments to your disciplining style!

Don’t: Too harsh a restriction which you are unable to carry out is a DON’T! Pleading you teenager to behave well? A bad idea! Allowing your teen to manipulate you? Never!

Do: Again, balance and consistency is extremely important. The basic trick to discipline teenagers is to keep your cool, listen to them and come up with the best possible solutions. Emotional blackmails or occasional exemptions are the mistakes parents usually make. Secondly, the whole idea of being a friend to your teenager rather than a parent is not always what children want, most of the times they want authority figures that guide and protect them. You going teeny for your teenagers is the last thing they’d want. 

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