All parents want to have disciplined and well behaved kids. But such a thing doesn’t happen on its own. Your kids are like a pure clay; it is your job to shape them and build their characters. You can’t expect your kids to develop their own sense of discipline; it should come from both of you as the parents – it is one of those parenting responsibilities, anyway. And how should you even begin?
Come to an Agreement
First of all, you can begin by discussing it with your spouses. What is the standard? How should you react? What to do when they break the rules and you want to make them responsible? Discussing and talking about the issue may seem unimportant; you probably are wondering ‘Why should I even discuss it with my husband or wife? Isn’t it a parenting instinct that will naturally develop on its own?’ Unfortunately no. Just like other skills you will learn during your parenthood period, not everyone has the sense of discipline. You need to remember that different people have their own different standard. Some people are strict while some are laid-back. Some are serious while some are cheerful. It is a guarantee that your standard of discipline will be different from your spouse.
So, before you create any confusion between you two or among the kids, it is better if you talk it out. Come to an agreement of what is tolerable and what isn’t. For instance, the kids are free to do what they want but once they break the regulation, a 5-minute time out will be given and it is the standard treatment. Such an agreement between mom and dad is important so there won’t be any difference in the treatment, like mom is stricter while dad is more lenient. Trust me, it will create a parenting gap and your kids will notice. Once they notice it, they will try to make use of it.
Be Flexible but Firm
You are a parent; not a judge in a court of law or an executioner who is about to push the bad guys. You are dealing with your kids; your own flesh and blood. In most cases, they don’t even know what they are doing. Your job is to reinforce the ‘law’ of the house. Don’t be tired or bored when you have to repeat the same rule over and over again. When they make mistakes, don’t just punish them without hearing what they say. Ask them why they do it. Tell them the consequences. This can be a tiring parenting role but it is a must.
When they do make mistakes, talk to them. Lower yourself to their eye level and have a discussion. Ask them whether they know what they have done and what the consequence is. They generally don’t know the effect of their mistakes. Explain to them why they are wrong and the consequence of their action. This way often works better than shouting to them and telling them not to do this or that. Yes, the parenting job isn’t easy but it is worth it.