in response to all those "backhand the little fucker" comments i keep seeing. i know most of you are joking around, but read up and see that there are far more efficient methods of getting those half sized you's to stop terrorising the household
Before I get this underway I would like to clarify a few things, so that the arguments don’t end up being based on semantics.
Beating a child: this does not include an open handed slap on the hand or backside or somewhere non central (i.e. not in the chest or the face, that is just harsh). Sometimes you need to send a short sharp shock to a child and it needs to be now (running in the road, trying to eat electricity etc etc). Beating a child is when you project aggression towards a child in such a way that is intended to physically harm them.
Kids with ADD: 1 in 10 actually have it. 9 out of 10 have poor discipline. Go ask the 30 odd kids with ‘ADD’ that I got to behave themselves and be happy about it in less than a week. If yours is the 1 in 10 that actually has it, shit man I’m sorry for you and good luck!
The naughty step: a step for naughty kids to sit on and reflect on what they did wrong.
My childcare CV: I have raised my brothers since my father died and have been very responsible for their discipline and understanding of the world. I also worked with children for 5 years and have worked one-to-one with some very difficult children. I have qualifications in childcare and the only reason I gave it up is because the pay is crap and the hours don’t cover my financial needs.
You are telling me how to raise my kids: damn right I am. Someone has to do it and if you learn anything from this then it is a good thing. Don’t get all arsey and ignore it just because I’m a patronising git off the internet
On to the good stuff
HOW TO DISCIPLINE YOUR CHILD/TEENAGER WITHOUT KICKING SEVEN SHADES OF SHIT OUT OF HIM
Today I will be discussing various methods of disciplining a child and what the intention of discipline is. I will also outline how to get the most respect and understanding from your spawn, which leads to greater levels of discipline.
I have often had discussions with people about children and discipline. I get asked my opinion on all these teenage gangsters and all the antisocial culture of today’s youth. I get asked “what should I do with my bastard son who won’t behave” and I have people telling me that I’m a horrible parent for ever daring to tell the young ‘uns that they screwed up and should leave the room in shame. I often get called a “softie liberal pussy” for not throwing my kids down the stairs every time they so much as look at me funny. The one bit that always amuses me is that my 2 are well behaved, expressive, intelligent and confident in themselves and the people who are telling me I’m shit have very unstable and reclusive or very wild and uncontrolled children.
I have since the age I took care for them, enacted a policy of natural consequences for my brothers. This teaches them that whether you like it or not, bad things happen when you misbehave. Some examples are:
“I’m not eating this food, I want (insert junk here)”
To this I just enjoy my meal. Hey kid this is all there is. Fine by me if you want to be hungry. The food is always here for you and I am happy to warm it up for you but if you don’t want it, you go without. Don’t give them the power trip of forcing them to eat. Natural consequence: if you don’t eat, your stomach hurts.
“hey, fuck you”
To this: fuck you right back! I’m not fazed by your swearing, nor am I incapable of swearing myself. Wanna get into a cuss match with me? No? why? Because you are going to lose. Natural consequence: Never try to mug off the man that changed your nappies and bathed you. This sign of strength will almost immediately quell any future attempts to be a dickhead.
Basically, natural consequences mean that the punishment fits the crime. There doesn’t even have to be an actual punishment per se (none of this 10 minutes on naughty step), there just has to be a refresh of the understanding of the power balance and the social norms for behaviour. If your kid acts like a dickhead, act like one back. If your kid steals money from you, let him come home to see the new shit you bought with the money you got taking his stuff to CEX.
Above all things the intention here is to teach the child that other people can act obnoxiously too, and that if they wish to behave that way then they cannot begrudge others who do these things to them too. It is also important to engage the child at an emotional level. Understand why they do these things. Let them know that you know how they think and they will understand you better too.
On to some guidelines.
Step 1: learn not to hate the process of discipline. Come on, you know it is fun when you get to tell your irritating lad that he isn’t getting that tenner off you no matter what. Don’t deny it; let your children see that discipline and punishment is just a routine thing for you. It doesn’t really bother you that your kid will be without videogames for a week or that he won’t be going to Andy’s party this weekend.
Step 2: discipline is about power and moderation. If you lose your cool with your kid, then they have the power. If you behave badly when you are angry then you give your child loads of moral ammunition to use against you. If you are angry, tell your child they have angered you and that you are retreating to decide their fate. Make your punishment fit the crime and make sure the punishment is with a view to your child learning about why what they have done is logically not a good thing to do. You can argue with a parent and you can argue with an ideology but you can’t argue with gravity. Let them see that their actions have consequences regardless of your interventions
Step 3: you love your child. Do you beat the shit out of people you love? If you answer yes, then you don’t actually love anyone and you are deluded. You are not trying to upset your offspring; you are trying to make them not do something they shouldn’t. Remember the difference. Let them know you love them even when you are telling them that they are being brats
Step 4: don’t be wrong, and if you are; admit it. This is extremely important. If you make a mistake and hide it then your child will find out eventually. They may not ever mention it but damn will they lose all respect for you. If you are wrong, be big enough to admit it and apologise to your child. Lead by example and all that. Nobody is perfect
Step 5: be firm. Don’t be a vicious tempered bastard but don’t be a flower picking hippie either. Ok, your kid is crying because he got punished. Tough shit. Don’t give them a cuddle and make it all better, damn right he should be crying right now!
Step 6: if you have to beat your child then your kid just won the argument. Way to teach your child to use violence to get other people to do what they want. Congratulations, you are raising a thug.
Step 7: don’t overly praise or overly put down a child but be honest with them. They will value the “well done” much more if they know that it isn’t bandied about for everything they do. However, if they don’t do well, let them feel ashamed and let them know you are disappointed. Be sure to let them know how to get back in to your good books though, every child craves the approval of their parents and it is unrealistic to expect them to “just know”.
Step 8: interact with your offspring. Seriously your kid will like you way more if you share some activity with them. I play videogames with my brothers as well as a bit of wrestling and I help them with the occasional flame war online. I have built many levels of rapport with my brothers over the shouts of “shoot the left one, THE LEFT ONE” and it is this mutual respect that means they know I’m not just being a bastard when I discipline them.
Step 9: don’t be such a hardass. Your child already understands the consequences of running with shoelaces untied. If she doesn’t, let her learn it the hard way! Let your children be free and don’t call them up on every mistake they make. They probably already know and have already begun the learning process. They will thank you for it when they, as adults, are more comfortable taking risks and therefore succeed more. They will also learn that when you do make a scene about something they have done that it is serious.
Step 10: feed your child properly. Garbage in is garbage out and if you fill your kids with sweets and crappy food then they will never be able to settle down. Scientific tests have proven that a child’s diet impacts on their behaviour massively. Go on, give your 8 year old son 4 mars bars to eat and watch him go nuts. Then tell me I’m wrong
Step 11: give your child emotional space. It isn’t the emotion you have the problem with; it is their response to the emotion. You are angry? That’s cool, no bother. Just do something other than beat the shit out of the fridge. You don’t want to talk to me because you are sulking? Ok, no bother. I’m gonna go enjoy my afternoon but I’m still here to talk to when you need. Respect your child’s emotions and they will respect yours
Step 12: if all else fails, find what they love the most and hold it to ransom until the task is done. If you don’t know what your kid loves the most then you haven’t followed step 8. this step should be used as a last resort and is significantly more effective than a beating as it allows them to come to terms with their behaviour without the huge emotional charge that violence brings.
I have always found these 12 steps to work. I have recently had other members of my family ask me to instil some discipline in their sons and it has taken about 1 evening. Too many kids feel unattached to their parents and feel like there is almost a species gap between them. When you engage them on their level, about their interests and their emotions, you will see the rewards very quickly.
The naughty step: idiots who still think this works need to go back to whatever drug they were tripping on when they originally thought this would work. The naughty step just teaches a child to leave the area when they have misbehaved and it teaches them to daydream about stuff when they are bored. It only works in group settings when they get to see the fun happening without them, otherwise the kid on the step really isn’t missing much other than the point of the discipline.
So there you have it. I expect much debate and many insults flung. Let the games begin!