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Five healthy ways to discipline children – The Indian Express

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Many parents struggle in teaching good manners to their children, and wanting them to be disciplined. From toddler age to teenage years, temper tantrums, stubbornness, and other such traits can be difficult for parents to navigate.
According to Dr Himani Narula, developmental and behavioural paediatrician, director and co-founder of Continua kids, “shouting and physical violence can worsen the situation, and hence, it is important to talk and learn some positive strategies to discipline children”.
“A positive disciplining strategy can help develop a positive relationship and set expectations based on the behavioral outcomes,” she says.
Dr Narula suggests doing the following:
1. Praise the positive behaviour and reinforce desirable behaviour. Catch them when they are good. Avoid threats or nagging, as it may promote undesired behaviour.
2. Ignore unimportant behaviours like swinging legs while sitting. Know and accept age-appropriate behaviours. Understanding your child’s temperament is extremely important as a strong-willed child needs to be raised differently than a ‘compliant child’.
3. Do not have arguments with the child during ‘correction time’. Apply consequences as soon as possible, and keep them brief. Convey the consequence without shouting. Verbal abuse is as damaging as physical punishment. Ensure that corrections are directed towards behaviour modifications and not the person or the child. Model forgiveness and do not bring up past mistakes.
4. Set reasonable limits and keep the consequences realistic. Be consistent with the rule.
5. Hear them out, give them your attention and redirect bad behaviours. Sometimes, children misbehave because they are bored or don’t know better.
“A research article published in Paediatrics Child Health journal in Jan 2003 edition on effective discipline for children states timeout as one of the most effective disciplinary techniques available for parents of children aged 2 years to primary school. Timeout must, however, be used appropriately, consistently, and correctly for it to be effective. It can be introduced at 2 years; make sure that the timeout place doesn’t have built-in rewards, like television or iPad. Timeout can last from 1 minute to a maximum of 5 minutes.
“Do not use timeout for teaching. Start afresh once it is over and most importantly, help the child to connect the inappropriate behaviour with timeout,” the expert says, adding that parents must refrain from hurting the child’s self-esteem.
“Do not shame them. Respect should be the foundation of discipline.”
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