Providing positive discipline for children – Part 4: Discipline and distractions

In this article series, explore the purposes and principles of positive discipline. You will be able to generate several appropriate techniques for dealing with discipline problems involving children of varying ages.

Preparing your child for discipline
Teach your child the expectations of behavior. Whether it is at home or out in public, let children know what to expect ahead of time. Don’t wait until unacceptable behavior occurs. If the kids want to bring toys or a game out, let them know ahead of time that when they are finished playing, the toys will have to be returned to where they came from. Another example is having the children put their own dishes away and cleaning up after eating. This is the beginning of children being responsible for themselves instead of us always picking up after them.

When families go out to eat, shop or visit at someone else’s home, it is helpful for children to understand what behavior is expected of them. We assume young children know the rules in all different situations. They may be behaving in a negative way and in reality they don’t understand what they are doing wrong. An example of this would be, at their own home the are allowed to go into the refrigerator by themselves, but this is not acceptable at someone else’s home. Try to understand why the child is doing what he or she is doing, not that the child is behaving in a negative way.

Remember to always allow time for transition. All children react to transition in different ways. Allow more time for children that have a harder time with transition. This could head off problems in the future.

Dealing with distractions
For young children, the saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often true. It helps to take the child out of the area into another room or outside, way from the object that is distracting them. When young children get obsessed with an object, usually in about two weeks they will be interested in another object, so remember their fixation will not last forever.

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