Threats might seem like a quick route to take to discipline your child. But it certainly isn’t nurturing or healthy. And when your kid is spinning out of control or acting irrational, parents usually fall back on threats. And once you start using it, getting out of the threat rut can be tough. And no, it isn’t because of its effectiveness. Rather most of the times we have used some absurd ones that leave us feeling like a fool. Most parents use it out of habit or because that is the only way they know. But there are other creative ways to instill discipline and responsibility in your child. Here are 5 ways you can make your child listen instead of threatening them.
1. Admit When You Make A Mistake
Have you ever made a ridiculous threat that backfired on you? Let’s play out a scenario so you get a better picture. Imagine you have gone shopping with your son. Your son is adamant about getting a toy or he wants you to buy all the junk food he can find. Now you are frustrated by his behavior and tell him that if he can’t obey, he will have to wait inside the car till you are done. Now the minute you blurt it out, you realize how unsafe it is. So you can quickly tell him that you will take him outside and wait there until he’s ready to try again.
You can make shopping fun for both by asking your kid to pick an item from each isle which is on your list. Tell him exactly what you are looking for. This way shopping will seem like a treasure hunt than an errand for him.
2. Give Choices
Instead of always deciding for them by inspiring fear, you can adopt a new strategy – giving them choices. So instead of threatening to turn off the music if they don’t turn it down, give them alternatives. Try saying, “Would you listen to something else or listen in your room? It’s hurting my ears.” This way they would learn to decide for themselves and also learn to take responsibility for their actions.
3. Say What You Can Follow Through
Or follow through what you say. If you don’t follow through, your kid is not going to take your words seriously. However, make sure you come up with logical consequences. If your child has broken an expensive vase after repeatedly telling him not to play in the sitting area, don’t tell him, “No Christmas for you this year.” Instead, come with something else, “We are going to reduce your TV time” which you can definitely follow through.
4. Keep Your Cool
Easier said than done. But staying calm when your kid is acting crazy can make a world of difference in how you control the situation. A lot of times our emotions get the better of us. And we end up making absurd threats which we won’t be able to follow through. So instead of resorting to threats try rewarding your kid every time they get something right. It may be hard to believe but kids learn to behave from positive enforcement rather than threats.
5. Absurdly High Expectations
Most parents set high expectations for their kids. It’s one thing to have the best-laid plans for your kids. But you should also know your child’s limits. Always expecting them to behave a certain way or do certain things is going to create friction in your relationship with them. So always examine what you are expecting from your child and make sure you are being reasonable.
Kids learn best when you handle the situation gracefully and use a positive tone. You don’t want to tatter their self-esteem or inspire fear or hatred in them. And by following the above strategies, you can make sure to build positive interactions with your kid.