Advice Column, Health, Parenting

How To Help Your Child Form Healthy Habits

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“Good discipline requires time. When we have no time to give our children, or no time we are willing to give, we don’t even observe them closely enough to become aware of when their need for our disciplinary assistance is expressed subtly.” M. Scott Peck

Disciplining with love, time and effort is the most crucial thing we can learn if we want compassionate empathetic and loving children. It takes stamina to explain how spiteful their behaviours were. Making analogies to past events, allows the child to comprehend why their deeds were unacceptable. It also allows them to appreciate situations, and reasons parents are upset in the first place. By observing what is unworthy, they learn what is vital. I don’t think it is relevant to criticize a child in front of others. We might take a child aside or into a quiet private area and resolve the issue.

We must be good observers, and pay attention to our child’s actions, well before an issue arises. What transpires before a skirmish is important to know. Kids can’t always explain in words, how things happened. An earlier conflict they suffered might make them retaliate at a later time. As parents, we may only be privy to the current upsetting conduct. By treating kids with respect, we give them the chance of explaining why they did something cruel.  We teach by explaining how they might have handled it. Nobody needs to be destroyed physically or emotionally.

I remember one parent always stating it hurt her ears when her child screamed.  Her child was quick to stop when she’d mention this during a screaming match. Another parent softly spoke to her child and stated, “When the yelling stops we can talk.” She always made it a priority when the child was ready. The child had the power to dictate the time, but the parent had the control to dictate the terms which the child had to follow. This gave the child ownership of the situation, and the next step. When the child has ownership of their actions, they take the responsibility of accepting the consequences.

The last thing parents want to do is be on opposite sides regarding discipline. We need to compromise. Agree to the rules and then do not argue with each other in front of the children. The children will pounce on a weak link as far as a certain rule is concerned. This will promote unruly children who are making the rules, and parents who spend more time in discussing what should be done instead of acting on it. We can’t preach how to behave one minute and then make disobedience acceptable the next minute. If we don’t want children jumping on beds, then that’s the regulation. If we allow it to happen when our children have friends over for a visit, then we have broken the rules. Our instructions are no longer valid.

What we sow we reap. Teaching a peaceful way of living is important. Let them know that you will always love them unconditionally, regardless of any mistakes they make.  Model a peaceful way of living by your actions.  Being a good parent requires diligence attentiveness and love. When love is always at the forefront of discipline we will not hurt our children emotionally or physically. We will be attuned to their feelings. They understand so much more than we give them credit. Talking and explaining is best.

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