Research and Mental health studies suggest that a kid`s level of self-control and self-discipline, at a young age can predict how successful and happy he will be in his future.
Teaching self-discipline to kids becomes one of the most important and challenging aspects of parenting, wherein the parent has to balance their love and affection for their child against controlling improper behavior and demand.
As adults, we all discover that the art of regulating emotions and managing impulsive behavior is the key to success in our lives. And inculcating self-discipline early in a child’s life goes a long way in preventing behavioral problems and building emotional strength and grit.
Why self-discipline is important for your child?
The child who has self-discipline can fight with uncomfortable situations, positively as he/she is in control of himself.
They can manage their anger and can control their impulsive behaviour.
Most importantly, a self- disciplined child can make healthy choices;
He has decision-making skills and has a confident attitude in his life.
Following is a list of parenting advice to teach your child self-discipline:
USE EMPATHIC APPROACH:
Many people confuse discipline with exerting total control over their children.
Initially, discipline will be perceived by your child as setting a limit to his independence. Because when your child will exercise self-discipline, he has to give up something that he wants, in the place of something that is expected of him by his parents
Therefore, parents should have an empathic approach for their child to set the limits.
A punitive approach doesn’t help a child to develop self-regulation because it then becomes a discipline that is externally imposed. When punishment is used to drive a child’s behavior, he does not voluntarily choose to resist his own impulse but is relents to a suppressive command by parents, and this can make your child stubborn instead of disciplined.
MAKE A STRUCTURED ROUTINE:
An organized and structured daily routine breeds discipline. It should be implemented in an empathic way so that your child would face fewer struggles to follow the limits of routine. In the beginning, he will follow your structured routine to please you, over the time he will start to adopt the routine on this own. He will begin to think of himself as a person, who brushes the teeth, does his homework, tells the truth, and helps others.
ONE STEP AT A TIME:
Self-discipline is a process that takes time to learn and refine. Parents should use age-appropriate discipline strategies to shape their child’s behavior. Expecting a 6-year-old child to suddenly be able to follow your framed routine without any help is impossible. Instead of nagging your child, you can use picture charts, which depict someone brushing teeth, combing hair, and getting dressed. It helps them to follow it easily. You can also add your child’s picture doing these activities on the chart, to make the message stronger and clear for your child. Do remind the activities, until he is able to do it.
PRAISE THEM FOR GOOD BEHAVIOUR:
Praises are always helpful to encourage someone for his good deeds. Parents should praise their child with a positive attitude whenever their child demonstrates self-discipline. By giving praises for making a good choice increases the chance that he will repeat the same behaviour. When you point out the good choice of your child by praising him, you are indirectly telling him that you want to see the same behaviour more often. For example, you can say, “I’m so proud of you that you chose to clean your room today by your own efforts”, “Good job for putting your dishes in the sink after eating.”
EXPLAIN THE REASONS FOR RULES:
Rules & regulations are never liked by any of us, and your child also feels the same. Instead of telling him “Do your homework, because I’ve said so”, parents should explain the reason behind it. You can say that “It is a good idea to do your homework first because then you can enjoy your playtime without any tension of completing your homework.” It helps your child to understand the underlying reason behind it. Parents shouldn’t give any lengthy lectures and that to repeatedly because you don’t want your child to get bored and stop listening to you. A quick and short explanation helps him understand why certain choices are important for them.
EXPRESS YOUR EXPECTATIONS CLEARLY AND FOLLOW UP EVERY SINGLE TIME:
Shouting from a corner of your house,” It’s time to switch off the T.V “, is not registered by your child as a command that he needs to follow.
Instead, if you want your child to listen and follow your command, you should go to him, have eye contact, and tell” It’s time to switch off the TV, let’s have dinner now”. Also, it’s equally important to have him follow your instruction each time. This also means you have to give up checking on your child unnecessarily all the time, have a set of rules, and follow them every single time.
LET THEM FACE CONSEQUENCES:
A child who constantly forgets to carry his lunchbox with him will never learn if a parent always delivers his lunch box to the school. Facing the natural consequences for his habit like (feeling hungry in the recess time) will teach him to remember forgetting the lunch box from the next time. This type of parenting practice helps your child to retain learnings from the consequences throughout his life. You can also explain to him about the consequences before his actions so that he can develop a decision-making skill. For example, you can say, if you won’t bring your jacket with you to school, you can feel cold and get a fever. These logical reasons help the parents to make their child follow their rules & regulations.