This is the final instalment in this Positive Parenting Series. I hope you have found some of the advice beneficial. I would love to hear from you about what has been useful or what has not helped, so please be in touch. Next week I will be turning my head to some adult matters, so stay tuned.
I have already suggested that praise and encouragement is more useful than punishment. However, there are some situations when punishment will need to be used. When using punishment to change your child’s behaviour, it is important that the punishment is reasonable, and that it is suitable for the age of your child. For example, putting a two year old in time-out for half an hour will be too long, whilst putting a 12 year old in time-out for half an hour might be appropriate. Here are a few examples of ways in which you can punish a child for undesirable behaviour:
Time-out can be an effective way to punish your child. Putting a child in time-out involves taking them away from a stimulating environment, and placing them in an environment that is lacking in interesting activities. For very young children, this can simply be a corner of a room, or a mat that is slightly removed from other activities. For older children, this can be a room in the house such as a bedroom or bathroom.
Taking away privileges or treats can be a useful punishment, but again, only if it is done in a reasonable manner. Taking away a big treat or privilege for a relatively minor offence will only build resentment in your child, and may lose its impact as an effective means of changing behaviour.
Ignoring undesirable behaviour can also be a valuable punishment. Some children engage in undesirable behaviour simply to attract attention from a significant person. By ignoring the behaviour, this kind of attention-seeking is discouraged. If this is done in conjunction with paying attention to positive behaviour, then children will learn how to get attention from others in a positive, rather than a negative manner.
Just remember, if you have been using other means of disciplining your child, you can expect a worsening in behaviour when you start using some of the techniques that have been suggested. For this reason, you need to hang in there and persevere for some time before you will notice improvements in your child’s behaviour. Most importantly however, children require warmth and affection more than they require fancy methods of discipline. With a solid foundation of love from you, your child will be absolutely fine, regardless of the specific methods of discipline that have been used in the past or in the future.
This is a great resource for parents and teachers with pre-prepared star charts that you can download:
This website contains information and advice from an educational psychologist on topics such as behavior modification and ADHD. It includes tips for teachers.
The following are links for two different pages of the same website. They include some useful information and practical tips on behavior modification and parenting skills. The website also provides links to other useful resources and information on parenting skills.