Thursday, January 11, 2007

Laying down the law

"If we don't know our boundaries, we don't know when to stop"

It's really hard to decide when to start disciplining your child. There are several categories of parents.

#1 The "too" early birds: These are the kind that will rap their child's knuckles when the baby is only a few months old. They start thinking that by starting early, they are setting good boundaries for their little one.

#2 Late bloomer: Those parents who provided excuses for their child, and insist that he or she is too young to understand.

#3 Just right.

Start discipline with your child when YOU feel she understands cause and effect and understands the meaning of consequences. Now I'm not talking about the philosophical consequences... just the simple things. For example... if I turn my cup over, the juice will spill out.

This is a fine line, because a lot of the time people confuse this with curiosity. If your infant is only 8 months old and emptying her food onto the floor and playing with it, this isn't a sign of defiance. The little one is just learning.

So back to the book of law.

When you see the signs that your child is ready to understand discipline. Make sure she is rightly guided with the rules you want to set for your house. Little children have little memories, so you might want to remind them about the rules again and again and again and again and again. Don't lose patience when you remind them. They are only learning.

Keep the rules realistic and simple. You don't want to confine your child, remember, you just want to set boundaries.

- You might want to define "off limit" areas (bathroom, t.v. fine china cupboard, etc.)
- Teach them the "right" voice to communicate (no screaming or shouting)

That's a good 2 to start with. Work on this now, I'll be back with more in a couple of days.


At 9:53 PM, Blogger Lorraine said...

The interesting thing about boundaries is that they get larger as the child grows. "You must always hold mama's hand when crossing the street" grows to "You may only cross the street with mama" to mama standing on the corner watching the child look both ways. But if you haven't established that first rule, it is a lot harder to set proper limits later.

What always drove me crazy were the parents who'd say, "Oh, we don't have a lot of rules; we don't want to quench her spirit". Hoo boy, talk about setting yourself up for failure. Kids need rules, they need boundaries.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Dariush Alavi said...

I think I've said this before, but I earn my daily bread working with kids who have been damaged partly by the fact that their parents do not understand the concepts of rules and boundaries.

It's like being a teacher: if you're too strict, it's not difficult to ease up. Going vice versa is almost impossible.


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