All parents want their children to behave well both at home and elsewhere. Nobody wants to be blamed for raising an ill-bred child. Therefore, parents should opt for the best disciplining methods. Communication, spanking and rewards are considered to be the major methods of disciplining.
Communication is recommended to be used as the first method of discipline. In other words, sometimes communication can prevent misbehavior. However, parents must remember that the tone of voice and nonverbal communication elements express more than actual words. A firm tone of voice is more effective in comparison with a loud and a harsh one, especially for a strong-willed child. Nonverbal communication includes eye contact (direct), body posture (lean towards child), distance (close) and facial expression (relaxed and friendly).
Spanking can be used with toddlers and preschoolers and must be stopped by age 8-11 since teenagers should never be spanked. This method is considered to be properly used in case of an open defiance. However, parents should not abuse it or use it inappropriately. Moreover, they should carefully choose the disciplining method for each situation.
Rewards are more effective if used on the level of training. Basically, there are three types of rewards. Social rewards are words of praise, appreciation and approval, hugs, and kisses. Special privileges include going to a zoo, having a picnic or any activity selected by a child. Tangible rewards are cookies, ice-cream, toy, clothing or books. Rewards should be selected based on the child’s interest. However, the social rewards can be used more frequently as they are more important and lasting. Nevertheless, parents should not overuse rewards; otherwise the effectiveness of this method will be lost (Chase, 1992).
Every child is a unique personality. Therefore, parents’ choice of methods must be based on an individual approach. In addition, parents should not abandon a method as ineffective unless they have thoroughly studied or applied it.
Chase, B. (1992). Discipline them love them: 26 practical projects for parents. California: