Now that the notion of ‘discipline’ is old-fashioned and the quaint idea of automatic respect for authority figures has gone out of the window, parents sometimes struggle to know what to do when the behaviour of their offspring becomes an issue for them.
Parent like you would run a Bank Account
Whether it’s whining, answering back, agitating for the next big consumer thing or beating the living daylights out of a sibling, the answer to parental woes is rather more straightforward if they can envisage parenting rather like running a bank account. Even if big and defiant teenagers are turning parent hair prematurely grey, this bank stuff works.
So here goes: it involves paying into the account or, in this case, building up the relationship with the youngster, thereby creating a cushion when there needs to be a withdrawal, or- -deep breath- -‘discipline’.
So first tip for mum and dad: give them attention when things are ‘normal’ and calm. Deposit goodwill by spending lovely, quality time with them. Really listen to teenagers and tune in to their world; try ‘non-judgmental’ for a while. Play with little ones, letting them call the shots in the game …(as long as they are being appropriate in their behaviour). Show you value them and build up a good, healthy relationship by having fun!
Then when things get tricky and the boundaries are crossed, the parent can withdraw from the bank or put the old foot down with less chance of World War 3 breaking out.
Get used to Standing up to your Children
It can be uncomfortable for parents to stand up to their kids if they haven’t been in the habit, but the temporary withdrawal of nice things as a consequence for poor behaviour will be less catastrophic and more likely to be effective when the relationship has been buoyed up with positivity.
Parents have rights too. Calmly and rationally putting a stop to poor behaviour by being assertive and withdrawing privileges, is one of them. Giving this discipline a fighting chance by stashing away positivity when things are peaceful will pay dividends in the end.