One of the many, many challenging parts of parenting is finding the correct way to discipline your child so they learn right from wrong, and understand that there are consequences for willful bad behavior. How do you make it fair but effective? How do you get your point across without feeling like the Wicked Witch of the West? How to you choose a punishment that sticks but doesn’t traumatize your kid for life?
Unfortunately, discipline is never going to be a barrel of laughs for everyone involved. If it wasn’t a little bit unpleasant, then it wouldn’t be a punishment, would it? But there are lots of ways to discipline a child with creativity so that (hopefully) it ends up being a positive learning experience for you both.
1. Try time-outs with a constructive task.
When a kid is in time-out, he has nothing to do but sit there and stew and be angry. It doesn’t make much sense to discipline a child that way. However, if you give them a time-out with a task they must complete before they’re allowed to do anything else, then at least they’re taking their punishment and getting something done. Tell them to clean their room, vacuum the upstairs, or complete a math worksheet, or think of something else that might be more helpful
2. When it comes to schoolwork, give punishments that will actually correct what’s wrong.
If your child is getting bad grades, it’s important to seek out a solution that’s going to help them learn and be successful. However, if the bad grades are just the result of laziness and lack of trying, you might want to implement some relevant punishments so your kiddo knows he can’t avoid schoolwork. Discipline a child who failed a test by having him correct his wrong answers with help from a textbook. If your student straight up neglected to turn in some assignments, try and get extra copies from the teacher. The teacher may not offer any partial credit, but your child should complete the work anyway.
3. Implement a “job jar” with random slips of paper that assign punishments.
Discipline a child by having them pull one (or two) jobs out of the jarring making them complete their tasks without delay. Somehow, this makes assigning punishments a little bit easier on you and on your kid because it makes you feel like less of a “bad guy.” It also helps your child feel like he is responsible for getting whatever punishment the jar doles out, rather than you.
4. Ask your child to choose his own punishment.
This really gets your child to think about what they’ve done and consider thoughtfully what might be an appropriate consequence. Of course, if you think he’s being too easy on himself, you have the power to suggest alternatives.
5. When siblings aren’t getting along, find a constructive way to force them to.
Forcing them to squish together inside an oversized t-shirt is probably just going to make them more annoyed with each other. Find something that’s going to force them to work together in a less antagonistic way. Tell them to assemble a puzzle together or cook dinner together, if they’re old enough, that is.
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