Busy parents aren’t always the most effective when it comes to discipline. Sometimes you resort to ultimatums or even bribing your kids with snacks or extra TV time to get them to behave. Being aware of some of the more common mistakes parents make with respect to disciplining their kids can help you to avoid them and employ better parenting strategies.
Don’t tell “little white lies,” when you need your child to do something. This often entails a false threat, such as, saying you will drive past the house with the big dog that scares your little one. While this might get the desired effect of encouraging your child to eat their broccoli or put their toys away, in the long run it can enforce unnecessary fears. It’s better to tell them you understand why they want to keep playing, but firmly insist that they put the toys away and go to bed.
Failing to follow-through with discipline is a big “no-no” for parents. If you tell your child they won’t get dessert unless they finish their vegetables, you have to stick to it. Otherwise, your child won’t take you seriously in the future. It’s important for kids to learn that actions have consequences.
Be a team when it comes to discipline decisions. Don’t undermine your spouse with respect to discipline. It’s OK to have different parenting styles, but if your husband has already told the kids they won’t get to go to the zoo if they don’t finish their chores, you should support him in that.
Be careful when it comes to bribes. An occasional one is alright, but don’t overdo it. If you constantly offer your children treats for finishing vegetables or homework, they’ll come to expect it. Child-rearing experts say it’s better to reinforce good behavior by complimenting it.