In the book, How To Behave So Your Children Will, Too! by Sal Severe, the author offers the dream of every parent. How to get well-behaved kids. It sounds too simple, doesn't it? Follow this book, and your kids will behave? Hmmm... Actually, we think the book does give pretty good advice. Being able to follow it is the hard part.
The author says that parents run into trouble when they are inconsistent, procrastinate, and give warnings but don't follow through. Parents also say things that they don't mean, lack patience, punish in anger, and attend to the negative rather than the positive. Other problems are that parents criticize too much, don't plan, and don't recognize that their own patterns of behavior are part of the problem.
Suggestions the author gives to be a successful parent:
1. Let your kids make their own decisions and learn from their own mistakes.
Encourage cooperation. Don't be controlling--teach self-control.
2. Be a good role model.
Take responsibility for your actions. If you make a mistake, explain that you were wrong and apologize. Speak calmly. Be polite. Read. Eat healthy. Exercise. Your kids will, too.
3. Don't reward a tantrum.
State your expectations before you leave the house. Give the kids a job to do, and praise them for good behavior. Always follow through with the negative consequence if they do not behave appropriately.
4. Focus on the good behavior.
Recognize their efforts and improvements. Have high expectations and confidence in your children. Reward the good behavior with special activities.
5. Teach responsibility.
Use a chart, checklist, or a written contract to help your children focus on their goals and keep tabs on their progress.
6. Follow through on consequences immediately.
Keep your expectations specific, reasonable, and requiring effort, without frustration. Allowing specific, reasonable, and enforceable consequences teaches cause and effect, and helps teach good decision-making. Be consistent!
7. Be proactive.
Take care of problems before they even start by laying down the ground rules and the expected consequences.
8. Create a positive family climate.
Emphasize togetherness, cooperation, and structure with flexibility, fun, and humor. Avoid anger, criticism, rigidity, and defensiveness.
9. Build self-esteem.
Don't do things for your kids that they can do themselves. Teach your kids to accept their strengths and weaknesses, overcome disappointments, love and support themselves, and look for alternative solutions.
10. Emphasize priority behaviors.
Set a goal and work on a couple of behaviors to change. Intervene with rewards or consequences, and see how well the plan works. Adjust the plan as needed.
That's the author's advice in a nutshell. What discipline strategies have worked for you?