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Self Help Ideas  - Effective Parenting - How to Discipline with Love

Over the past 30 years, the guidelines for effective parenting have been washed away in a flood of escalating changes. As parents, teachers and elders we have become increasingly frustrated with the growing anarchy and disobedience displayed by our society’s children. We soul-search, "Why is this happening?"

We believe that, in this uncertain world, our children are crying out (through tantrums, stealing etc) for clear and firm limits to be set for their behaviour.

One of the most effective ways to set limits is to let the child learn from consequences. This is done by giving alternatives and letting the child decide what to do. An example would be:

"You decide whether you’ll be able to ride your bike tomorrow. If you remember to put it away tonight without being reminded, you can have it tomorrow. You decide."

Make the consequences fit the action. If he won’t clean his teeth, explain that teeth decay, sugar creates decay, so if teeth are not cleaned then there will be no sweets (biscuits, ice-cream etc).

This next method is particularly effective for children/teenagers who are driving you crazy with their arguing and fighting with each other. Never be the referee. Just give the alternatives, "You can stay here in this room (or at the meal table) if you are peaceful. If you decide o fight, you have to do it outside." It works! Radio too loud? After two requests you say, "Turn it down or lose it for a day. You decide." Peaceful household!

What can we do with the child who has to be reminded 20 times to do the one simple chore? If he has a job to do and doesn’t do it, you do it. Don’t nag him about it. Just say, "You owe me 20cents for doing the washing-up". We all have to pay others to do work for us, that’s life. Take it out of his pocket money or deduct it from the next lot of money he asks for.

These are just a few of the many effective techniques for creating a harmonious peaceful household. Try them for at least six weeks to get good results.

However, it is not always easy to put them into practice.

These limit-setting techniques merely touch the surface of potential problems you may have with your children. Often the family tensions may run deeper than just discipline and conflict. They may be reflective of your own unhappiness with yourself, or perhaps a pattern you experienced as a child is being lived out through your children.

There are warning signs and you should take steps to identify surface problems and underlying tensions or possible child depression. Often it is the parents who are last to realize their child’s deep unhappiness.


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