Grandparents Teach, too

Good discipline starts with good teaching

Sabin, Davis, Hetrick, Anderegg, Macalady, Walker, Darling, and Katers

According to child psychologists, age appropriate good discipline is used to prevent future behavioral problems in children.

The word “discipline” means imparting knowledge, skill, teaching, and setting limits.

Bad discipline, including no teaching, develops children who are mean to others including siblings, do dangerous or disruptive things, and revolt as they grow. Preschool children should be able to follow simple rules, respond to commands, have self -control to wait for things they want, and deal with frustration from not getting their own way.

There are many reasons for misbehavior: jealousy, a feeling they are not getting enough positive attention, frustration, stress, hunger, lack of sleep. When children misbehave, they usually get a lot of attention even though it is negative.

Pediatricians recommend avoid yelling, hitting (spanking) or getting too worked up during episodes. These increase negative attention and reinforce that it is right to get out of control and be aggressive.

Catch kids being good

It is easier to reward and praise good behavior, to reinforce it, rather than having to change bad behavior. To promote good behavior, doctors suggest families might spend special attention time with children as often as possible. Be very clear about expectations for children. State rules in clear and simple terms, apply reasonable consequences for misbehavior as soon as possible after the incident, make consequences brief, be consistent with your rules, and learn to ignore minor or unimportant behaviors.

Let children know when you are happy that they are being good or have accomplished something. Avoiding power struggles by giving several simple choices, plan ahead and set up rules and expectations. Do not disciple when you are out of control.

Some strategies that may work to improve children’s behavior include: Kindly with a soft voice allow children to see the natural consequences of actions (if they throw and break a toy, then they can’t play with it); Logical consequences (if they don’t put toys away, then toys will be put away for a time); Withholding privileges (find things that your children enjoy, playing a game, renting movies, and take them away); A reasonable time out (one minute for every year); Age appropriate reward or token systems can also be effective for a short time in changing bad behaviors.

Count to fifty

When your children misbehave or are disruptive, you can remove yourself and ignore, a technique called extinction. Walk away and breathe deeply from the stomach.

The approach may work for temper tantrums at home and frequent whining, or other disruptive type behaviors. Be firm, consistent, calm, kind, use a normal volume, and be loving. Hug and talk about appropriate behavior when you are both calm. It’s only the behaviors you don’t like, not the children. The health department has classes in your area. See grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com; wnmufm.org/Learning Through the Seasons, live and podcasts.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.