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Discipline Checklists

by Kay Ireland, studioD

When it comes to discipline, an outline of the essential components can help you put all of the pieces in place for effective communication and positive behavior from your children. While it's not exactly a road map, it's a good starting point for discipline in your family.

Clear Expectations

First and foremost, children need to know exactly what to expect from you as a parent. The first step for effective discipline is to talk to your children about the behavior you expect and what type of behavior is inappropriate. Once you've made your expectations clear, it's easier for your kids to predict how you'll react. If you're not consistent in your expectations, however, it could lead to children who push the boundaries to test your reaction and resolve. Once you make a rule, stick to it.

Consistent Consequences

If you've said that misusing the computer will result in 48 hours without the computer, follow-through with your punishment. Letting your kids get away with negative or unacceptable behavior only sends the message that you're not serious about your rules and expectations, warns KidsHealth. Instead of wavering, create logical consequences that help your kids learn a lesson from their behavior. If a child breaks a lamp in the home, for instance, he's responsible to earn the money to buy a new one.

Parental Communication

While it's important to be clear about your expectations, it's also OK to leave room for negotiation, notes the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Talking to your children about your expectations and possible punishments allows you to be partners in your family's success, rather than rivals. If your daughter is pushing for a later curfew, for example, sit down and talk about why she wants a later curfew, where you could compromise and the punishment for missing a later curfew. Communication allows your children to be heard while you still elicit positive behavior.

Positive Feedback

The term "discipline" can sometimes have negative connotations, but it isn't inherently unpleasant. By giving your kids plenty of positive feedback when they meet and exceed your expectations, you use positive discipline to get the behavior you want. Watch your children and offer specific praise when you notice good behavior, like sharing with a sibling or doing chores without nagging. Your kids want your approval and feel rewarded when you notice positive behavior.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.

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