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Disciplining Your Child

​​​​​We've all seen children throwing fits in public. It's happened to every parent. You've stopped at the store, usually at the end of a long day, and your child won't stop grabbing things out of the cart or won't take no for an answer. It's not long before he's thrown himself on the floor, kicking and screaming. What can you do? It may not always be easy, but the answer is daily, loving discipline.

What Is Discipline?

More than anything else, discipline means instruction. Discipline is the positive teaching and direction you give children every day and it takes TIME:

T = Talking with your children

I = Instructing your children

M = Monitoring your children

E = Encouraging your children

Discipline is more than saying "Do this because I said so." Think of it this way: If your boss tells you to do something, you might ask why. If the boss says, "Because I said so" or "If you want to keep your job, you'll do it now," you might do what you're asked but only because you feel threatened or fearful. You're not following your boss's directive because it's the right thing to do or because there will be a positive result.

The same goes for your children. They will be more helpful, confident and loving when you practice positive teaching with them every day. Discipline requires talking with them clearly about exactly what you want them to do, why and what they're doing right and wrong.

Effective discipline requires consistency and watching your children closely for positive and negative behaviors. Don't think of discipline as a chore, but as an opportunity to encourage your child and provide what he or she needs to succeed as an adult. That is why, most of all, discipline requires you to use positive teaching.

What Is Positive Teaching?

Positive teaching helps your child learn what he or she needs to know to succeed in the future. Positive teaching helps build self-confidence, teaches kids to get along well with others and gives them the skills they need to make their own decisions and control their behavior. It is called "positive" teaching because children are more likely to learn how to behave when they are treated with respect and affection rather than anger and punishment.

You can use positive teaching to tell your children what they did right and why they should continue using that good behavior. You also can tell them what they did wrong, why it was wrong and how they can correct it. If you are pleasant, calm, firm, consistent and clear, your child will learn from you and his or her behavior will improve.

Here's an example: You overhear your daughter tell her grade-school friend that they shouldn't talk to a new girl in their class because she doesn't wear nice clothes and looks different from everyone else. Using positive teaching, you can take a moment to tell your daughter and her friend that what's inside a person is important, not how a person looks or dresses. This teaches your daughter how to make friends with people based on their character and not what they look like. That is a powerful lesson that will help her be successful throughout her life.

Positive teaching is caring, specific, consistent and interactive. It may not be easy or fast but it is rewarding. When you take a positive approach to discipline, you impact your child for life.