Follow Us

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Creating Effective Rules to Instill Positive Discipline in Children

Enforcing rules on children is necessary for effective parenting. Rules promote safety and structure to a child’s life that create order and set them up for success at home and school.

Situations usually arise when parent’s attempt to enforce these rules and a child resists. This leads to parent is nagging, cajoling, and negotiating with the child to compile.

Setting up effective rules will make instilling positive discipline much easier. The follow pointers will show you how to create effective rules.

Enforcing the Do’s, Not the Don’ts

Children hear the word “Don’t” and “No” all the time. It’s no wonder that “No” is one of the first words that children learn to say. Most rules appear in a negative form for example, “Don’t Run” or “Don’t touch”.

The problem with the negative form of rules is that they do not present the parent’s expectations. The common rule of “Don’t Run” does not exclude skipping, hopping, crawling, spinning, etc. - all of which could or could not be acceptable behavior. Children think concretely. Therefore, this rule means that anything else is acceptable.

The positive form of rules creates a parental expectation, which is extremely powerful. Instead of the “Don’t Run” rule in the example above, we say, “We must walk in an orderly fashion”. This rule provides a clear expectation of their behavior.

Here’s some common transformation of rules from Negative to Positive.

Negative Statement: “Don’t Run”

Positive Statement: “Please walk in an orderly fashion”

Negative Statement: “Don’t Touch”

Positive Statement: “Let’s only look without touching”

Negative Statement: “Don’t Push”

Positive Statement: “We need to keep our hands to ourselves”

Negative Statement: “Stop throwing around that toy”

Positive Statement: “We need to play with toy properly”

Write and Post your New Rules

Writing and posting your new rules will give a visual account of your expectations. You need to review these household rules with your child on a constant basis. The more you speak of these rules, the more the child will naturally integrate them into their mindset and lives.

For each rule, you can write the consequence for not following the rule. Natural consequences are great to add here. For example, the rule of playing with toys properly, the natural consequences would state that you will take the toy away for the rest of the day or that you will not replace broken toys. Statements like these develop responsibility in children.

Follow through

All is lost without follow through. Rules that parents do not followed through on are as good as no rules at all.

Developing effective rules helps to instill positive discipline in children. They also encourage children to increase their level of responsibility. These factors make parenting and applying the rules much simpler – providing better family harmony.

No comments: