5 Creative Ways To Discipline Your Kids Without Beating Them
Disciplining your child doesn't necessarily mean beating them. All it takes is a little reverse psychology to get an obstinate kid to see things your way.
In our part of the world, we've embraced "the rod" as the symbol of discipline. Our idea of discipline is a few strokes of the rod now and then. But it shouldn't be so. Stubbornness is a global phenomenon. You can take comfort in the fact that there plenty of parents who are in a similar situation. The way you handle your stubborn child will make all the difference in the kind of adult they turn out to be. The toddler phase and the teenager phase are considered the toughest to handle. We've curated some really creative ideas on how to discipline your stubborn child. But first, who really is a stubborn child?
Not every kid that exercises free will is stubborn. It is important to fathom if your child is stubborn or determined, before taking any strong action. Strong-willed children can be highly intelligent and creative. They ask a lot of questions, which may come across as rebellion. They have opinions and are “doers”.
A few other characteristics that stubborn children may display are:
- They have a strong need to be acknowledged and heard. So they may seek your attention often.
- They can be fiercely independent.
- They are committed to doing what they like.
- All kids throw tantrums, but stubborn ones may do so more often.
- They have strong leadership qualities – they can be “bossy” at times.
- They like to do things at their pace.
If your child displays most of the traits above, congrats, you have a strong-willed child. He has the tendency to be stubborn, so like all children, he will need discipline.
It is important to understand that stubbornness is a part of the personality of some children. In others, it is their way of nudging the boundaries and asserting their will. So, it falls to you to teach your child the various ways in which they can handle stress and express their feelings. Here are some tips that you can rely on to curb stubborn behaviour.
Communication is a two-way street. If you want your kid to listen to you, you have to be willing to listen to them first. Strong-willed children may have strong opinions and tend to argue. So how do you teach a five-year-old stubborn child to listen to you? You approach him or her sideways, in a calm and practical manner and not head-on.
Kids have a mind of their own and don’t always like being told what to do. Give your kids options instead of directives. Instead of telling him to go to bed, ask him if she would want to read bedtime story A or B.
Your kid could continue to be defiant and say, “I am not going to bed!”. When that happens, stay calm and tell them matter-of-factly, “well, that was not one of the choices”. You can repeat the same thing as many times as needed, and as calmly as possible. When you sound like a broken record, your child is likely to give in.
That said, too many options aren’t good either. Minimize the options to two or three, and ask your stubborn kid to pick from those.
Yelling at a defiant, screaming kid will turn an ordinary conversation between a parent and a child into a shouting match. Your child might take your response as an invitation to a verbal combat. This will only make things worse. It is up to you to steer the conversation to a practical conclusion as you are the adult. Help your child understand the need to do something or behave in a specific manner.
Do what it takes to stay calm – meditate, exercise, or listen to music. Once in a while, play your kid’s favorite music. That way, you can gain their ‘vote’ and also enable them to unwind.
If you want your children to respect you and your decisions, you need to respect them. Your child will not accept authority if you force it on him. Here are a few ways you can model respect in your relationship:
- Seek cooperation, don’t insist on adherence to directives.
- Have consistent rules for all your children and do not be lax just because you find it convenient.
- Empathize with them – never dismiss their feelings or ideas.
- Let your children do what they can for themselves, avoid the temptation to do everything for them, to reduce their burden. This also tells them that you trust them.
- Say what you mean and do what you say.
Lead by example is the mantra you should follow here because your kids are observing you all the time.
Also read: How not to raise entitled kids