What Discipline Strategy is Right for You?
When you first bring a new baby home from the hospital, discipline is probably the farthest thing from your mind. As he gets older and begins to assert himself more, however, it becomes apparent that a strong, effective disciplinary strategy is imperative. Figuring out the sort of discipline that’s likely to be most effective for your household can seem like a staggering feat, especially when you consider the sheer number of books written on the subject, all with vastly differing views. These tips can help you navigate the world of parenting styles and disciplinary philosophies until you find the one that obtains the best results from your brood.
Understand the Four Primary Styles of Parenting
There are more parenting books and websites dedicated to the world of discipline and parenting styles than you can shake a stick at, but you shouldn’t let the abundance of information overwhelm you. What those books and websites may not tell you is that there are only four primary parenting styles, as espoused by developmental psychologists. Every parenting style and disciplinary strategy is, in some way or another, a simple reiteration of these four styles.
- Permissive – Permissive parents are more likely to portray themselves as friends than authority figures. The disciplinary style of permissive parents tends to be very lax or almost non-existent, as kids of permissive parents are largely allowed to make their own choices.
- Authoritative – A system of rewards for good behavior, consequences for bad behavior and attentive, engaged parenting makes up the authoritative parenting camp. These parents tend to be forgiving, but will enforce stated consequences of bad behavior or unwise choices. Boundaries set by authoritative parents are clear and consistent, and dialogue with kids is favored over parental lecturing and monologues.
- Uninvolved – Uninvolved parents ascribe to a philosophy that’s just as aloof and lax as it sounds. The needs of an uninvolved parent take precedence over those of the child. Little to no interest is shown in children of uninvolved parents, who are often indifferent and detached from teaching situations.
- Authoritarian – Rigid, controlling parents who demand complete obedience and who make no effort to explain rules, only to enforce them at all costs, are known as authoritarian parents. A 2010 study showed a slight correlation between authoritarian parenting styles and the presence of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in their adult children.
Get to Know Yourself
In order to know what sort of disciplinary strategy is most likely to be effective, you’ll need to first objectively examine your own personality. Laid back, relaxed parents probably just won’t have much luck ascribing to harsh, authoritarian disciplinary styles. Take the time to get to know yourself, determine what you can effectively handle as a parent, and choose the method of discipline accordingly.
Realize That it’s Okay to Pick and Choose
Many parents who are avid readers of parenting self-help books fall into the trap of believing that they must choose one disciplinary philosophy and stick to it rigidly. Actually, it’s usually more effective to choose elements of any style that will apply to your child’s personality and your own. Mixing and matching disciplinary styles isn’t problematic unless you’re inconsistent or abusive.
Know That Some Tactics Are Never the Right Choice
No matter how angry you are and how badly your child has misbehaved, it’s important to know which disciplinary tactics are off limits at all costs. Causing your child physical harm, along with emotional abuse and cruelty, are never the answer.
The key to almost any disciplinary strategy is to be consistent. Once you’ve determined what works for you and your family, you must make a very real effort to maintain consistency. Spotty or inconsistent discipline sends confusing, mixed messages to kids who aren’t quite sure what’s expected of them or the consequences of failing to behave properly. Stick to your guns, even when it would be easier and less stressful to just give in on occasion. Your kids need clearly stated and consistent boundaries, not “sometimes” rules and consequences.← 30 Blogs with the Best Tips on Helping Siblings to Get Along | How to Handle a Toddler Who Wakes Up in the Middle of the Night →
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