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Why parents should agree on discipline method

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Discipline is a method of getting obedience or regulating behaviour. It is usually enforced to ensure strict compliance to rules and regulations or even basic etiquette and manners, says Mrs. Ugochi Mba, childcare specialist and educationist.

In families, some parents do not agree on the same method of discipline hence, one is seen as being too hard or wicked and the other appears more loveable. This is not good for growing children. It makes them tilt towards adoring one parent more than the other. This action can also get children confused as to what is really expected or acceptable.

The parenting enthusiast and mum of one said it is healthy for children to see how their parents reach a compromise or settle a disagreement if it’s done peacefully and effectively. But if the parents can’t reach an agreement on how to discipline their children when they err, the children’s behaviour often gets worse as they search for the reassurance of stable boundaries to their lives.

It’s not surprising that parents have differing views on the best way to discipline their children especially because they are from different backgrounds.

“Working out those differences requires clarity and perspective. Most parents will often tend to discipline their children the way they were disciplined while growing up. This could range from being too harsh to lenient. Whatever the case may be, parents ought to agree as a couple on the measure of discipline for their children.”

As a parent, one of your jobs is to teach your child to behave. It’s a job that takes time and patience, but it helps to learn that effective and healthy discipline strategies go a long way in shaping children. Before agreeing on ways to discipline a child, you may want to consider these few tips:

. Teach children right from wrong. If they know better, they can act better.
. Have clear age-appropriate rules your children can follow. Explain to them in words they can understand.
. Calmly and firmly explain the consequences if they don’t behave. Also learn to follow through with this. Don’t give in to their emotional blackmail and back down.
. Learn to always hear them out and give them your attention. This is the best way and time to encourage good behaviour and discourage bad ones.
. Always encourage and sometimes reward good behaviour. This helps children to want to be better.

Mba noted that if these strategies are in place, discuss and agree with your spouse on how to react per erring situation. Follow through agreements. It helps children’s emotional stability. They are not confused and divided with their thoughts and feelings. They also begin to learn gradually, what the power of unity and agreement can do. They may not outrightly understand, but as they grow, it begins to make clearer meaning to them.

Mrs. Mba stressed that sometimes, pressure makes parents act out of line when they want to discipline their children. It’s okay for this to happen once in a while. Remember that, as a parent, you can give yourself a time out if you feel out of control. Just make sure your child is in a safe place, and then give yourself a few minutes to take a few deep breaths, relax or call a friend. When you are feeling better, go back to your child, hug each other, and start over. Let the child understand what has happened. Then go ahead to give the appropriate discipline for that misbehaviour. Sometimes too, you can ignore.

“Whatever your child’s age, it’s important to be consistent when it comes to discipline. If parents don’t stick to the rules and consequences they set up, their kids aren’t likely to either. Make good on any promises of discipline or else you risk undermining your authority.

“Kids have to believe that you mean what you say. This is not to say you can’t give second chances or allow a certain margin of error, but for the most part, you should act on what you say. Remember, all forms of discipline must be age-appropriate and come from a place of love and learning. If you go overboard, they may begin to hate and become even more defiant,” she noted.

Mrs. Mba added that children can sense when their parents aren’t in sync in their decisions around discipline. Your child will feel the lack of unity between you, which can create a feeling of instability for him. You model what you want your children to do. They learn from what they see more than what they are told. So discipline begins from agreement by parents.

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