Happy Fatherhood

Why discipline fails

Since the 'good old days', which probably weren't good, we've become progressively softer on our kids. We are encouraged to tread softly by the media and misunderstood government legislation.

To avoid tears, I see a lot of parents bending over backwards to accommodate behaviour that should be nipped in the bud, kindly warning their kids like:

"If you do that again, you won't get dessert / a bedtime story / TV for a week"

Those parents are setting themselves up for unruly behaviour. What the kid learns is that they can get away with ANYTHING once. Unless dad has just said the above, they can get away with hitting their sister, drawing on the walls or flicking their dinner at the dog.

That's why it's important to have a form of punishment you're happy with.

In my case, it's taking 'screen time' away. My son loves his computer games, and taking them away immediately stops him in his tracks. The key to the punishment though is that I think he plays too many computer games, and he plays creatively, socially and happily without them - it's good for him.

If I open my mouth to discipline him, it's to say he's lost a day or a week of screen time already. If he argues, or does anything else to incur my ire, he'll lose another week, a month, or whatever I decide.

( I mention the boy as he's a tougher case - the girl fears disapproval and mention of my disappointment in her normally stops any bad behaviour)

Warnings are unnecessary - kids have an innate idea of what's right and wrong. Maybe sometimes I get it wrong and he really is surprised by a punishment, but I don't care (and he knows that) because I want him off his screens.

Posted on 2015-01-15 12:45:23

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Why discipline fails
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