Learn to Live with your Child

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Learn to Live with your Child

Many parents find it hard to discipline kids from toddlers to teens and they also find a very hard task to encourage their children to feel positive about themselves, these skills are important and a good communication is essential. Parents should set themselves the goal to teach their kids to develop self-discipline, many parents opt for a quick and easy response such as yelling, screaming and spanking these prove very ineffective with children and especially with teens. Once parents learn to discipline in a more effective way a positive relationship is established.
Parent & Child relationship guidelines

The following guidelines are essential for a good relationship and a happy home :

Set aside some time on a regular basis to do something fun with your child or teen (homework time doesnÕt count). DonÕt disagree with your partner about discipline in front of the children. Never threaten or give orders, requests or commands if you are not capable to enforce them. You must be consistent with your rewards and punishments. Agree with your partner and your children on what type of behaviour is desirable and not desirable; also agree with them on how you will respond to undesirable behaviour. You must make clear what undesirable behaviour is and make a list of it, “Your room is a mess is not clear enough as this will end up with a confrontation between you regarding what each of you consider a mess, set clear rules.

Dirty clothes must be put in the basket.
Nothing must be left on the floor.
Dirty plates must be returned to the kitchen.
Bed must be made every morning.

The basic rule a parent must always follow is to avoid defending yourself, you rule your house and you donÕt have to defend your decisions or punishments your kids will constantly attack your superior position (all kids do) just restate your position and avoid giving defensive reasonings. When new rules are set down donÁt expect immediate response, it will be a slow process; set your goals on gradual changes in behaviour. There is one very important rule that parents must obey, if one of you is disciplining your child and the other enters the room that last person should not step in on the argument in process, as you donÕt really know how the situation has arisen and the child will try and use your intromission on his/her benefit.<li>Reward desirable behaviour as much as possible by using verbal praise, touch or a tangible reward (staying up later, going somewhere special, going to his/her favourite restaurant) avoid making the reward a constant economical gift (toys, junk food, money) as this will cause problems in the long run. Try and distribute your responsibility of discipline as equally as work permits it as this avoids one of the parents becoming the good one and the other the bad one who always does the punishing.

The Three Keys to effective parenting.


When you set down the rules make sure you also set down the consequences for breaking the rules, you must be constant with these consequences or they will lose any usefulness.


The punishment should fit the crime, you need to set a number of punishments in order of importance and then use them accordingly, be as fair as possible with this and set down the list of crimes – punishments avoid changing these as you will usually be extremely annoyed when the crime has been committed and you will probably over-punish, this has to be avoided and of course you canÕt go back on your punishments so leave them established beforehand and stick to them no matter what.


When telling your child off use a friendly but firm communication style avoid shouting and yelling they wonÕt take you anywhere you need to sit down with them inform them of what has happened and why the rule has been broken and then simply inform them of the agreed upon consequences, remind them how they should do things to avoid future consequences. After a punishment try and look out for them being good and praise them for the appropriate behaviour remember that once they have been punished for their crime they donÕt have to be persecuted to find every negative thing they do.

Reward rather than punish.

Some parents believe that their mission in life is to punish their child for everything he/she does wrong, this way of thinking will only lead to an unhappy family where things will never work out properly, your aim should be whenever possible to reward and praise your child for their correct behaviour and motivating them to continue improving this behaviour.

For younger children you can use the typical bribe “When you tidy up all your clothes you can go out and play with your friends.”

For older children promising a well-wanted reward (not always an economical reward) usually works a treat “If you pass all your exams you can go on a summer camp.

Remember that the trick to effective parenting is to be constant, in future editions we will be talking about effective methods to obtain results improving your kidsÕ behaviour.

Keith Appleby (Director)

CET Services