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Parenting Guide Sheets
16. Applied Discipline

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Page 16A
Introducing this Page
The purpose of this page is to consider how to remedy misbehaviour, i.e. what you do when it happens. However you need to be warned we are going to look at different schools of psychology to determine both causes of misbehaviour and how we may address it.
Don't be put off by the talk of psychology; it just explains behaviour! So all we're going to do is try to explain WHY our children misbehave as a means of assessing how we should respond to them. We will suggest a variety of means of bringing remedial discipline, but please do read the early sections which we have sought to make as simple as possible. There is a lot to read though!
Again with all these pages the style of this page will be short paragraph or ‘bullet-point' style to separate out individual things for you to think about with plenty of white space around to make it easy to read. Each individual bit needs thinking about.
1. Specific Techniques for Discipline
a) Understand what we're doing
b) Dealing with Younger Children
c) Dealing with Older Children
2. To Smack or Not to Smack
a) The Background to my Comments
b) Some Parents Will Smack
c) Some Parents Remain in Fear and Chaos
d) The Illogical Nature of Opposition to Smacking
e) Ground Rules for Smacking
f) Personal Testimony
3. Recap
1. Specific Techniques for Discipline
a) Understand what we're doing
Remember what we said previously: there are two ways we can view ‘discipline':
· the remedial action to deal with an out-of-hand current situation OR   
· the long-term training that goes on all the time to produce a child in control of their life.
On that page we considered aspects of the second meaning of discipline. What we're doing here is thinking what can we do when we are confronted with misbehaviour, how to deal with an out-of-hand situation!
b) Dealing with a Younger Child
We have already observed that very young toddlers are more likely to be learning than misbehaving so if they are doing, or are about to do, things you don't want them to do, then the following are starter approaches that we've touched on previously:
i) Ignore the Behaviour

· Not all behaviour you would wish to be changed is significant and needs action.
· Some things are sufficiently minor as to be hardly worth making comment.
· However, to decide this, determine whether silence is better than using this as a simple learning situation.
· Whining or mild crying because of tiredness is not a cause for heavy action, but for making an opportunity for your child to receive food and/or rest.
· When your child is about to strike, pinch or push another small child, this is not a time for ignoring them.
ii) Distract the Child
· Young children are often easily distracted and so scooping them up and whisking them off to something more interesting may be the best way of moving on.
· Consider some of the things in the next section that apply to older children - you could do some of these with younger children as well.
iii) Control the situation

· As previously suggested put ornaments, sweets, cakes etc. out of reach
· Consider how you can set up a safe and secure environment.
· Consider what toys you can use to absorb your child.
(NB. In all of these you may wonder about teaching correction – we will deal with that on a later page about gaining your child's co-operation.)
c) Dealing with an Older Child
As your child grows, the following are further ways to remedy the misbehaviour:
iv) Using the Long-Term Training

· Don't under-estimate the benefit of the long term training ethos – i.e. the sense that there are boundaries, expectations and responsibilities that we considered previously.
· For instance if your child goes to have a temper tantrum and that is something that has been discussed and understood as something not acceptable, just a word of correction or reminder is usually all that is necessary to bring the correction.
· But remember, this was all about creating an ‘environment' where love is in plentiful supply and self-esteem is good.
v) Having a Time-Out

· A time-out is simply a time to cool down and reflect.
· Because of childish immaturity there will be times when your children upset one another and anger breaks out.
· A time-out needs to be a pre-agreed (probably the first time it happens and you think it is appropriate) as a place where the child goes and sits quietly for anything between 1 and 5 minutes (depending on age – 1 minute for younger children, 5 for older)
· The time-out place can be the bottom stair of a staircase, a chair in the corner of the sitting room or some other quiet place. (I am completely against sending children to their bedrooms which should never have any negative connotations, but I recognise that with a small house or with a large family that may be the only place for a child to go – but not with the door closed.)
· Once you designate a time-out place with a firm voice, it is quite remarkable how a child will stay there as if there are things holding them there!