As parents, it’s not an easy task to discipline children without getting overwhelmed at times or lashing out when frustrated. Don’t we at times forget to keep our cool when we see our children not complying? I’m quite sure that, most of us lose our cool especially when we see that something that’s not expected of our kids is repeatedly being done by them, such as not clearing up things after play, not sticking to the play hours or study hours, making a fuss about food, extending screen time and many other things that test our patience.
Why Should Parents Avoid Lashing Out?
In the heat of the moment, you could have resorted to lashing out at kids. But, does it help in the long run? As parents, you not only have a responsibility to discipline children but also to have a bond with children that makes a positive connection and fosters healthy parent-child relationships. Building a strong, positive connection with your child involves finding alternative approaches to discipline and communication. Here are some constructive alternatives to lashing out that could be helpful to you in stressful situations.
Take a moment to think again
Although it’s easier said than done, before reacting impulsively, you must give yourself a moment to breathe and collect your thoughts. Taking a step back allows you to assess the situation more objectively, preventing unnecessary outbursts. It can help calm your nerves and create a space for thoughtful responses rather than emotional reactions. The outcome could be more meaningful and better at times.
Make it a habit to listen
Children want to feel heard and understood. Instead of immediately expressing frustration, take the time to actively listen to your child’s perspective. This not only strengthens your bond but also demonstrates respect for their feelings and opinions.
Although you think you know best, avoid jumping to a conclusion or solution before you hear what your child has to say. It’s not only the outcome, but the process is equally important in parenting. Listening will help you understand your child’s intentions and perceptions so that you reach a decision that is not only right but also understandable to your child. Whereas lashing out brings about obedience out of fear alone.
Make your expectations clear
Establishing clear expectations and boundaries can prevent conflicts from arising. Calmly communicate rules and consequences, allowing your child to understand the reasons behind them. When expectations are clear, children are more likely to comply, reducing the need for disciplinary actions.
Ensure that your expectations are clear and there is a consistent follow-through happening. Without this, kids tend to do exactly the opposite of what parents say. Remember to keep your expectations anchored in reality, as you are well aware of the normal behavior of little kids at different ages and stages of development. Expecting responsibility is essential, but not perfection. Isn’t it?
Encourage Positive Behavior
Positive reinforcement reinforces good habits, boosts your child’s self-esteem, and creates a more positive environment at home. Use descriptive praise when your child does something good or behaves well. Using descriptive praise like “I like the way you shared your toys with your cousin”, helps kids recognize when they do well and feel confident.
Encouraging good behavior motivates children and helps them to keep working on their behavior. Kids are more likely to repeat the behavior encouraged and appreciated by parents. It also helps them stay optimistic in life.
Take a timeout
Take a short timeout or a break rather than lashing out in anger or frustration. Give them the time to reflect on their actions and think calmly. Don’t lose your cool when you talk about a timeout. This will help you and your child to cope better with stress and frustration without aggression. It’s not going to solve all your problems, but will slowly bring about a better direction and help change the behavior gradually.
At times when you’re upset with something, it is possible to yell at your child when the behavior is not right. A timeout can avoid such a situation and help you figure out what’s bothering you.
How do you prefer disciplining your child as an alternative to lashing out?