I wrote a post last year urging parents to give up on smacking. There are few things that I believe absolutely but this much I know to be true - smacking probably won't help you reach your long term parenting goal. Which we all know is children who say, 'how high?' when you even hint at the word jump. It was unfair of me to condemn smacking without offering my views on how to actually get them little tykes to stop behaving like heathens. Yes, Charlene you're all about problems, where's my solution? So what follows is my guide on how to lay down the law.
Have a tell - I think it's right and proper to give someone fair warning. Children aren't actually entirely focused on ruining your day; they don't know that their behaviour is shameful, they're just having fun. That's why it's good to have a signal that lets them know a storm's a comin. A classic is the countdown, another is the utilise the child's full name; true professionals have it down to a sharp look. I prefer a very clear announcement, 'Roscoe that is naughty behaviour.' This is often greeted with laughter but he can't say I didn't warn him.
Keep it simple - Don't tie yourself in knots or get into hefty negotiations, there is no one on earth that can negotiate as well as a child. You will lose. You want very simple cause and effect e.g. If you continue to take your clothes off in the library/wipe boogies on that stranger, I will X.
Don't give up (even when you muck up) - We've all been there, allowed our buttons to be pushed and tried to regain power in the most ridiculous of ways. If you threaten to cancel pudding or get off the bus be prepared to follow through because otherwise your child will quickly learn that you don't really mean business. Of course if you go too far, I'm thinking 'we're never coming to granny's house again' quickly wolf down some humble pie and replace this sentiment with something more reasonable. It might be a good idea to have some suitable consequences planned in advance so in the heat of the moment you remember to ban the iPad and not give away the family cat.
Offer affection immediately - Your child needs to know that it's their behaviour and not them you do not love. If they become upset by your chastisement it's okay to comfort them, doing so does not invalidate the discipline. The message, I don't want you to be upset but I do want you to behave appropriately is one that even the tiniest tots can comprehend. I know this is hard for some people to grasp (and when I say people let's face it I mean women) but when something is done it needs to be done with. Don't keep throwing the incident back in the kid's face, it should be treated like something silly and unsavoury that everyone should just forget about quickly...until next time.
How were you disciplined as a child? Do you find it easy to lay down the law.