Kids these days… Yes, yes. We have heard every generation slam that generation’s youth, complaining that they lack respect and discipline towards their elders. This generational grievance dates back centuries and it will never change – OK boomer will eventually turn into OK Zer. But there are ways to cope and adapt without having to shout at the clouds and show your age.
Caring for a child has greatly changed from decades ago. Today, both parents are working, more kids are in daycare, and the way we raise children is incredibly different. It is a challenging task that will take at least 18 years to perform, but nobody ever said it was going to be easy. Indeed, children do not come with instruction manuals. You will have the patience to teach a child respect and discipline as part of their growth.
Believe it or not, you do not need to rage and you do not need to be passive either. How? Here are nine tips to teach a child discipline and respect:
1. Remain consistent in your discipline
In order to teach a child respect and discipline, you need to be consistent in your parenting techniques. In the early years of children’s lives, their primary objective is to test their boundaries, trying to figure out what they can and cannot do. They do this in the home and outside, and it can feel like you are constantly at war in an attempt to rein in poor behaviour.
It might be tiring to discipline your kid for being naughty or uncouth, and you may even feel like giving in at times, but here is the thing: You must never concede defeat no matter how exhausted you may be.
2. Follow through on discipline consequences
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you are not getting dessert.” “If you don’t finish your homework, you are not staying up late.” “If you don’t behave, we are not going out for dinner tonight.”
How many times have you made a threat and not followed through on it? Some may disagree with the use of threats, but if you are a parent who employs this method of discipline, then it is important to follow through on the consequences.
So, if little Johnny is whining, screaming, and crying, you should not go out to a restaurant for the evening. Or, if little Suzy is refusing to eat her vegetables, she should not get to have a slice of your delicious chocolate cake.
3. Lead by example in teaching your child
Wait a minute… You just told your daughter that she cannot have a chocolate chip cookie before dinner because it would spoil her appetite but then you just ate a cookie before dinner?
One of the best ways for children to be respectful and to listen to you is to lead by example. If your child cannot do something because it is the wrong thing to do, then you should heed your own advice. You can teach a child respect and discipline by demonstrating those same values yourself.
The examples vary by age. But let’s say that you want to instill fiscal discipline in your teenager and you head out to the mall and you are interested in buying more than what you intended. What do you do and how do turn this into a teachable moment? Well, you can do two things: buy the item on credit or deny yourself the pleasure and be a role model of fiscal responsibility for your kid.
4. Never be a child’s friend
A common mistake that most modern parents make is being their child’s friend. This is the worst thing you can do. You are not their buddy, their friend, or besties. Instead, you are their parent, an authority figure who is there to teach them the ropes and ensure that they can be responsible and respectful adults when they flee the nest.
You do not need to be a tyrant, but you do need to be stern when the occasion arises. The best way to teach a child respect and discipline is by acting as a parent, not as a friend.
5. Be honest with your child at all times
Indeed, honesty is the best policy in teaching a child respect and discipline. This is true of any scenario you can think of, including parenting. There is no reason to lie to your kids, especially if there is a chance that they will learn the truth one day.
By lying to your children, and them finding out later on, they will learn a bad habit and choose to lie to you whenever they feel like it. This eventually metastasizes into a toxic situation and a lie begets a lie.
6. Refrain from overreacting
Let’s face it: There is a lot of pressure on being a parent. You are responsible not only for the health of another life but his or her upbringing as well. You cannot just park them in front of a television all day long.
Is this an excuse to overreact? Not at all. It is critical to never overreact if your son and/or daughter broke a vase, skipped class, or hid the C- they received on their fourth-grade dissertation on the existential crisis in the age of deconstruction
Instead, if there is a challenge to overcome, it is important to be firm but calm, patient but stern.
7. Compliment your child
Is your child always misbehaving? Is your kid constantly up to no good? Is your son or daughter needing to constantly be corrected? If so, then here is an idea for a change: Compliment your kid on occasion.
Whether your kid is helping you with the laundry or did his or her best for the upcoming test, you should give your child a pad on the back once in a while. To be acknowledged for their improvements or doing what they are told can go a long way to sustaining this type of good behaviour. A tiny compliment goes a long way in teaching a child about respect and discipline.
8. Have fun with your child
With work, caring for your kids, eating, and trying to put out fires in every part of your life, it can be easy to forget about having fun with your children. But this is crucial to raising a good kid.
Even if you are broken down, tired, and just wanting to crash on the sofa, you need to remember to play with your child, whether it is just goofing around or throwing a ball.
9. Give your full attention to your child
Finally, when you are engaging with your child, you need to give them your full and undivided attention. It takes a lot of personal devotion to teach a child respect and discipline successfully.
This means that when you are interacting with your kid you need to put your smartphone away, put down your copy of the National Review, and ignore the “you’ve got mail” message on your computer. No matter how busy you are, remove the gadgets when you are communicating with them.