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Teaching Your Children Lessons That Last

Dad and son spending time together

As parents, we don't always realize we are our children's first teachers. The things we say, how we act and what we do to discipline them are all ways in which they learn from us.

So, when our child misbehaves, it's very important that we find a way to teach the correct way to behave rather than focusing only on handing out the punishment.

This is not always easy to do. But there is an easy way to remember.  We call it "TIME."

T - Teach your children by what you do and what you say.
 I -  Instruct them clearly in all areas of their lives.
M - Monitor what they do and how they do it.
E -  Encourage them in their failures AND their successes.

With TIME, you can make discipline more about teaching than about punishing. For example, if your child whines and asks for candy every time you go to the grocery store, you can use TIME to:

T - Teach her through your own words and behaviors to stay calm when you say "No."
 I - Instruct her on how to politely ask for candy without whining and to accept your answer, even when it's not the one she wants.
M - Monitor what she does and how she acts. This can even help you anticipate a bad situation and prevent it from happening: "We are going to check out. Please do not ask for candy because I am not going to buy you any today."
E - Encourage her when you see her doing something right: "Thank you, Elsey, for not asking me for candy today. You are being a good girl. Mommy is so proud of you."

By the same token, you should discourage your child's failure to use appropriate behaviors by establishing consequences for bad behavior. For example, if your daughter continues to whine for candy after you've told her "No," you can remind her of the rules and give a consequence: "We don't whine for candy at the grocery store. Today we had to buy the groceries we needed and nothing else. For whining, you must sit quietly in time-out."

Put your TIME in.

Being a good parent and teacher means taking the TIME to provide positive discipline to your children. When you do, you can correct them in ways that teach them how to make better choices next time. Along the way, you will teach your child lessons that will last a lifetime, ones they can use when they have children of their own.