Consistent parenting is one of the hardest things to maintain during parenthood. While many parents believe they are not consistent enough with their children, others commonly question whether they are too harsh, especially when it comes to discipline. However, no matter where you set the goalposts for your little one, sticking to them is essential to help them recognise the consequences of certain behaviour. While you may find disciplining your child difficult at times, being consistent with penalties can bring several benefits to them in the long-term:
Encourage Better Choices
Steady discipline will ultimately help your child make better choices in the future, not just with regard to their behaviour but to other activities as well. For example, if your little one has behaved poorly, facing negative repercussions will prompt them to evaluate their actions and realise that particular behaviour results in certain penalties.
Similarly, if your child loses their privilege to walk around freely as the result of running out into the road without looking, they will learn to make more vigilant choices when next crossing the road. In situations like these, discipline is the catalyst that will help your child to evaluate, learn from their mistakes and make better choices in the future.
Help with Emotion Management
Being consistent with penalties can also help your child learn how to manage their emotions in different situations. For instance, placing your child in a ‘time-out’ after an aggressive outburst will give them time to consider why they got angry in the first place and help them learn to take themselves out of a situation in the future to avoid the consequences.
Likewise, as part of alternate discipline strategy, praise can also be used to encourage your little one to work through negative emotions. If you notice your child struggling with a particular activity such as building a puzzle or reading a book, verbally acknowledging their hardship and telling them how well they are doing will help them learn to accept certain feelings such as frustration or impatience and realise the importance of self-determination.
Prevent Attachment Issues
As a parent, if you are continually moving the boundaries when it comes to discipline, your child may find it difficult to decipher what is acceptable and what is not. Consequently, this may cause them to form less of an attachment to you and become more isolated as the result of sporadic repercussions or a lack of predictability. As such, consistency is key when it comes to discipline; not only will it show your child that you are not afraid to follow through with certain penalties, but through repeatedly demonstrating this strength, that you are somebody they can rely on to look after them.
Improve their Safety
Safety is the goalmouth of discipline; as such, when your child purposefully disobeys rules that you have made to keep them safe, you should not hold back with the consequences. While an explanation is not always necessary, when it comes to safety, telling your little one why they are facing a penalty can serve as a useful clarification that will stop them making the same mistake in the future. For example, instead of saying “I told you not to climb on that chair”, explain to your child that you told them not to climb on the chair because they could “fall off and hurt themselves, which is dangerous”.
Here at St Peter’s, we know it can be challenging for parents to be consistent with discipline. However, to help children realise the potential consequences of their actions, we actively encourage pupils at our independent day school to evaluate and learn from their mistakes to avoid future penalties.