There is no such thing as a perfect parent because we all make mistakes. Here are seven discipline mistakes I've made as a parent, along with suggested solutions.
If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I'm always sharing my experiences as a mother. I've been on this journey for over 13 years and still find myself unlocking new levels of parenthood. As I grow as a mother I do reflect back on some of my biggest parenting blunders. Many of them may seem obvious, but trust me if you're unaware don't feel bad because I wasn't aware at one point either.
As you read through let me know if you identify with any of these discipline mistakes.
#1 - Being Too Negative
Many times without intention as parents we tend to always have a negative approach to how we interact with our children. They are constantly being told things they "shouldn't do".
Words can lose their power espcially when they are heard too often. That's what happens with "no" and "stop". So instead try to reframe by telling children what they CAN do instead. Save NO/STOP for immediate dangerous situations.
#2 - Expecting Too Much
This can be hard especially when there are multiple children in the home of multiple ages. We expect the older ones to know better, and the younger ones to know how to.
We can't assume children know more than they do. We are their first teachers. So no matter the age of the child we have to take time for training. Younger kids will need constant enforcement of acceptable behaviors, and older children will also need reminders of acceptable behavior.
"We can't assume children know more than they do." – Shanna-kay Arellano
#3 -Modeling the Behavior You Don't Want to See
Many of us grew up on the "do what I say, not what I do" mentality. However, it is way easier said than done. Kids are going to mirror the behaviors they see us act out believe it or not. We yell when we drop something, or curse when frustrated... we can't be upset when our children display these same behaviors.
There is no such thing as being perfect. However, we can model the behavior we DO want our children to emulate. We can apologize when we do something wrong or make a mistake. We can show up as the best examples of how we want them to be.
Tip #4 - Treating All Children the Same
When there are multiple children in the household it can be easy to fall into this trap. Children are all unique and may require a unique accommodation to have their needs met.
To avoid treating all children the same you want to get to know each child individually. Also, keep in mind that you will need several tools in your parenting toolbox. This will help avoid "blaming children" when one method doesn't work with each child the same.
Tip #5 - Incorrect Use of Time Out
When a child does something and is sent away to "think about what they did" very rarely does that ever happen, especially with younger children. Being isolated can translate to rejection and actually rile a child up more.
First, consider the age of the child. If they are under the age of 2developmentally they may still have trouble with reasoning. Positive time out encourages children and teaches them self-control and self-discipline. Children are involved in the process (by helping to create a space that will be encouraging) instead of objects or victims of the process.
Tip #6 - No Follow Through
Say what you mean and mean what you say. Children know when we're being serious and when we are just blowing hot air. They always seek to "test a boundary."
Set limits and make sure to follow through. If you say it means it, then follow through. Make sure there are clear expectations and that children know what to expect when the rule is broken.
Tip #7 -Always Needing to Intervene
It can be very tempting to want to jump in when we see our children struggling in any way. We believe we're being kind when we rescue children and protect them from all disappointment.
Validate their feelings, so they don’t have the opportunity to develop their disappointment muscle. (or sad, or angry) We tend to want to shy away from these feelings. But they are also valid feelings to have.
Discipline doesn't have to be stressful or perfect. I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Let me know what you think below.