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12 Tips for Successful Disciplining

Shopping for effective ways of disciplining your child?   Here are a dozen valuable tips you can take home today to help make obeying easier and discipline simpler, insha’Allah.

1. Use words of encouragement. Search for situations and behaviors in which you can commend your child. When you notice Abdullah getting along with his younger sibling or completing his homework without being told, let him know how pleased you are.

2. Be fair when disciplining. Being unfair or excessively harsh when correcting your child can sometimes lead to your child retaliating in subtle ways, such as venting his anger on younger siblings. If you find you have disciplined excessively or unjustly, let your child know you’re sorry. Parents can apologize too.  This can teach your child that he can correct his mistakes as well.

3. Check you stress level. Have you been under extra stress lately?  When you are under added stress, you tend to have less patience.  You might snap at your child for things you wouldn’t ordinarily scold him for. During these periods, acknowledge your heightened tension, and then decrease your stress by retreating to your room for rest.  You can also relax by involving yourself in special personal time such as reading an enjoyable book or listening to Quran.

4. Check your child’s stress level. A child that is stressed is less likely to be cooperative. Focus on relieving his or her stress by determining what is upsetting him and doing what you can to help. During these periods, within reason, try to overlook negligible behaviors.

5. Be observant of routine changes. Has your child had an abrupt change in patterns such as school ending or beginning, vacation, Ramadan, Eid, moving to a new home, guests visiting for long periods, etc.?   Such disruptions in normal routine can cause your child to be inattentive to instructions, less focused or restless. Be understanding during these periods and focus more on positive reinforcement rather than penalties.

6. Determine if your child is seeking attention.  Some children will attempt to seek attention in any way they can—even if it is through improper behavior. Try to spend more time with your child if you know you’ve been a bit slack lately.  Simply listening more and giving him your full attention when he’s talking to you can be a start.

7. Determine if your child is seeking power. Children have a need to feel in control at times. Sometimes, their actions are a result of this. If your child refuses to take a bath when asked to, try offering him options rather than commands. Do you want to take your bath now, Abullah, or in ten minutes?  Allow your child to make choices and decisions whenever possible.

8. Notice if your child is sleepy or tired. Ensure your child gets enough rest and sleep. Grouchiness can sometimes be a result of sleep deprivation.

9. Notice if your child is hungry.  A hungry child is an irritable child. Try to ensure your child eats regular healthy meals.

10. Monitor your expectations of your child.  Might your child have a hidden disability that makes it difficult for him to cooperate or easily comply?  Educate yourself on special needs such as ADHD, learning disabilities, autism and developmental disabilities.

11. Avoid accepting your child’s bait to argue.  Allowing your child to express his feelings can be a positive aspect of child rearing. However, if you notice a continuous back-and-forth debate ensuing, say what you have to say then ignore any further comments.  If your child retorts with flagrant inappropriate remarks, handle them later.

12. Address your child’s feelings.  Let your child know you understand how he feels, even when he has misbehaved. If Abdullah comes home with a notice from school admonishing him for speaking disrespectfully to his teacher, listen to his story and frustrations first. Let him know you understand how he feels. Then, kindly follow up with instructions of how he could handle the situation in the future more appropriately and then dispense whatever penalties you wish to put in place.

Try practicing these 12 discipline tips with your child in your home and you might find managing your child’s behavior comes easier by the dozen insha’Alla.

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