|The main purpose of discipline is to teach children age appropriate behavior and self-control. Bright Tots - Information on child development - Autism information. www.brighttots.com
|Teaching Children Self-Control
The main purpose of discipline is to teach children age appropriate behavior and self-control. Children require freedom to grow
and to learn, but they will not succeed on unrestricted liberty. The goal of discipline is to set reasonable limits which protect
children from harm and teach them what is safe and what is not. If children are to grow up into acceptable in our society. They
must also learn to respect the rights and property of others.
Children brought up without discipline may become selfish, greedy, dishonest, disliked, uncooperative and insecure.
Undisciplined children constantly demand attention. They may be inconsiderate or disrespectful to others. Some are destructive,
aggressive, and rude. A child allowed to disobey without punishment is unlikely to develop much respect for rules as he/she
Although it is impossible to describe rules for discipline that are appropriate for every situation, some principles are well
• Your child needs your LOVE more than anything else.
• You should use discipline to teach your child.
• You should not discipline your child before he or she is old enough to understand the reason for the punishment.
• You should not punish your child for behavior that is part of normal development, such as thumb sucking, speech
development, or accidents that occur during toilet training.
• You should not punish your child for anything that is accidental.
• Both parents should be consistent in the disciplining.
• You should explain to your child, in language that he or she can understand, why the unacceptable behavior must be
• You should not deny your child of essentials, such as food, as a form of punishment.
• Do not subject your child to excessive physical punishment.
• You should make as few rules as necessary and make them simple to understand.
• You should be a good role model for your child.
Parents are Behavior Role Models
Children who are often in trouble usually suffer from too little affection, rather than too little punishment. The responsibility for
starting the child in the right path belongs to the parents. Parents must serve as good examples for their children. Attitudes and
behaviors of the children can be anticipated to be similar to those of the parents.
Children learn best from repetition, practice, and example; lecturing is less effective. The age at which punishment is appropriate
depends on the intelligence and maturity of the child. Punishment, when required, should be immediate and unavoidable. The
penalty should be specified in advance and should be strictly enforced. The form of punishment should be appropriate to the
seriousness of the misconduct and to the child's age. After a child has been punished, it is important to reassure the child that he
or she is still loved and an important member of the family and that the wrongdoing has been forgiven.
Disciplinary Methods for Children
Rules should be as few and clear as possible, but they should be strictly and always implemented. Rules must be appropriate to
the age of the child. The child must understand that a particular punishment is automatically executed for specific unacceptable
behaviors. Threats that the parent does not intend to carry out should always be avoided.
There are many types of disciplinary methods. Rewards reinforce good behavior. Rewards may take the form of a smile, verbal
praise, special attention, special activities, hugs, extra privileges, or material benefits. Positive reinforcement is more effective
than punishment. Punishment is useful to stop inappropriate behavior. Punishment includes verbal disapproval, a frown, ignoring
harmless behavior, temporary isolation, temporary removal of a privilege, or spanking. Attempts to tease or shame children will
cause them to feel inferior and helpless and should be avoided.
Many find that the "time-out technique" is often successful for discipline. When your child misbehaves, take him or her to a
quiet, safe room, such as a bedroom. Tell your child that he or she must remain alone for a set period of time. Limit the time-out
to one minute for each year of the child's age. (For example, a 3-year-old should sit out for no longer than 3 minutes.) Do not
talk to the child during the time out. After each time-out, welcome your child back into the family circle. It is important to show
your child that he or she has been forgiven. For a time-out to be effective there must also be family time. Make sure you
regularly tell and show your child that he/she is loved.
Teaching Self-Control Skills
It is important to choose age-appropriate goals for children who are learning self-control, try simple goals first, where success is
expected, and one goal at a time. For preschool children, appropriate goals might include not interrupting or not fighting with
siblings. For early elementary school children, appropriate goals might include obeying with bedtime rules or showing anger
appropriately (instead of hitting or screaming). Some common strategies that often help children learn appropriate self-control
• Take a break: Encourage children to “take a break” or a “time out” from a situation where they are feeling angry or upset.
• Teach and provide attention: Children can learn to resist interrupting others by learning how to observe when others are not
talking, so that they can join in appropriately. Be sure to provide children with attention at appropriate times so that they are not
“starved” for attention and more likely to not interrupt improperly.
• Use appropriate rewards: Children need consistent, positive feedback to learn appropriate behavior. Praise and attention are
highly rewarding for young children, as is special time with a parent. Be sure your child knows what behaviors are acceptable.
• Use specific activities designed to teach self-control: Parents can help teach even young children (ages 5–8 years) the skills that
promote self-control, using activities such as those that follow rules. These skills include dealing with “wanting something they
can’t have,” understanding feelings, and controlling anger.
In order for children to gain control of their behavior when they are experiencing strong feelings, they must know how to
identify their feelings. It is never too early to talk to children about feelings or to help them see the link between feelings and
behavior. Connecting these together shows how our feelings can affect the choices we make, and it can also improve children’s
CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR FOR ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. Punishment occurs too frequently.
2. You are losing control of your child.
3. You are losing control of your own temper.
|Teaching Children Self-Control
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