Teaching kids how to help with their own discipline isn’t as hard as it might sound. It’s simply a matter of intentional parenting that teaches them important lessons to build character.
In fact, my almost-five-year-old has learned to remove herself from situations when she feels her emotions spiraling out of control and has started to self-discipline when she knows she has done something wrong.
We’re still working on the fact that saying “sorry” doesn’t instantly solve the situation or absolve her from wrongdoing, so she understands that once apologizing, making strides to mend the situation is part of making up for the decisions made.
Whether it’s an accident or intentional, our family works to find a positive approach to disciplining to make resolving situations less daunting or intimidating for kids, making them more inclined to fess up or willingly resolve situations without asking.
Remember: getting to a point of kids having self-discipline does not mean you never discuss the issue as parent and child!
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4 Ways Your Kids Can Help with their Own Discipline
The idea of having your kids discipline themselves may seem far-fetched but it is possible. When children know what is expected of them and you hold them accountable for their actions, they’ll behave better.
Start teaching your kids self-discipline as young as the toddler years and reap the benefits as they get older. But of course, start at whatever age you’re currently
suffering through enjoying.
What parents can teach to encourage self-discipline
Using more positive discipline strategies and teaching these qualities will help keep the peace during tense moments. (Get the chart at the bottom of this post to learn to respond in a more positive light to common situation with your children).
Teach your child empathy
…and he’ll treat others better and become a more understanding person. As a result, he won’t get upset as easily and throw a fit when things don’t go his way.
Praise your child for sharing his toys and showing kindness towards others and talk to him about how his actions affect everyone around him to help him learn empathy.
Listen to the podcast about raising empathetic and emotionally intelligent kids.
Help your kids develop decision-making skills
Kids who know how to make good decisions and solve some of their own problems are happier and more confident, which leads to better behavior.
Instead of getting mad or frustrated every time the least little thing happens, they’ll look for ways to correct the problem themselves first, so encourage independence.
Teach your child how to be more patient and he won’t get upset and act out when he has to wait for something he wants now. Instant gratification never serves our kids well, does it? So you can prolong gratification by making your child wait a little while for that toy or by not allowing him to play before doing his chores. Talk to him about how he’s feeling and let him know he’s doing a great job when waiting patiently for something.
Talk to him about how he’s feeling and let him know he’s doing a great job when waiting patiently for something.
Read more about helping kids develop problem-solving skills.
Give kids well-defined limits
Set and enforce limits and your kids will learn how to respect those limits. As a result, they won’t automatically spend the next 30 minutes throwing a tantrum when you won’t let them have cookies before dinner. They will learn to respect boundaries and accept that they can’t always have things their way.
Get the Positive Discipline Cheat Sheet
Need help reframing how you see or respond to situations with your kids? This cheat sheet will help you through some of those tough moments when you want to react with frustration instead of love. The sneak peek is below, but be sure to subscribe to download the full, printable version!
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Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!