Make It Easy


Thursday, August 16, 2001

Discipline children
with TLC

We've been talking about turning your kids into successful grownups. A disciplined, well-rounded, responsible child is one of the greatest legacies you can leave behind.

The world has enough spoiled children (some in public office!) so, please don't add to society's burden.

It is said that the greatest gifts we can give our children are roots and wings. Both come from teaching responsibility, accountability, and from incorporating discipline into their lives.

Face it, if we don't teach them in the safety of a loving home, then a much crueler world will teach them the hard way.

My husband told our kids once, "if you don't get enough timeouts as a child, you will get them as a grownup!"

Discipline must be administered with love and patience.

If you are too angry to discipline with love, then YOU are the one that needs the timeout. Take it, you'll be glad you did.

My mother told me a long time ago that timeouts were not created for children. They were created so the parent wouldn't do anything stupid.

When you give a timeout to your child, be calm, rational and focused.

Have a standard (safe) place where the child can spend a few minutes thinking about their actions.

After an agreed-upon amount of time (make it age-appropriate), talk with your child about what just happened.

"Do you think you made a good choice?"

"If you weren't in time out, would you be outside playing?"

"Do you feel good about what you did?"

"What do you think you want to do next time?"

This discussion instructs as well as helps the child learn to think and solve problems.

If you are consistent, loving and predictable in your consequences for their misbehavior, they will begin to take you seriously and will slowly learn that it just isn't in their best interest to act up.

Trust me, you want to get this in place before they are teens. If you don't, well, you have set yourself up for a lot of pain.

More next week on helping kids be successful grownups.

Beth Terry is president of Pacific Rim Seminars.
This column is excerpted from her upcoming book,
101 Ways to Make Your Life Easier. Send questions
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