5 Tips For Parents

-ARCHANA-SIDDHI DEVI DASI —

1st Tip – Use discipline, not punishment

Discipline teaches; punishment hurts. When our children need to be corrected, choose a consequence that will teach them and increase their self-esteem rather than hurt them. Hitting does little to positively instruct children. Instead, it teaches them that it is okay to hit others when they are upset.

Two types of consequences teach: natural and logical. A natural consequence is an environmental reaction to our child’s behaviour. As parents, we often want to protect our children from having to experience unpleasant outcomes to their behaviour’s, but as long as the reaction is not dangerous, we can welcome natural teaching moments.

Some examples of natural consequences are: A child refuses to wear a sweater on a chilly day, so feels cold. A child overeats and gets a stomach-ache. A child refuses to do his/her homework and the teacher keeps him/her after school (teachers are usually much better at dealing with homework refusal than parents).

Not every situation, however, leads to natural consequences. That is when parents need creative, logical consequences. If a child breaks something, depending on the child’s age, he or she can fix or pay for it. If children decorate your living room wall with a crayon mural, they can wash the wall. In this way, children learn to make amends for their behaviours and bad choices. This builds healthy self-esteem and helps children learn responsibility.

(Excerpt from the newsletter Real Family Life with Krsna by ISKCON Congregational Development Ministry)

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