There is nothing more powerful that the love a parent has for their children.
Often I see parents struggle with finding the balance between love and discipline but the reality is, they go hand in hand. Giving discipline is love. Discipline does not have to be mean, it can only become mean when you have lacked it during the early years and need to play catch up. The best case scenario is to start early with boundaries and guidelines through compassion, patience and love. The mother duckling is not going to let her ducklings stray, for it can be killed so she will do what it takes to teach them and keep them in line so that they are safe. That is our job as parents. Each parent or guardian has to gain the trust through persistent compassion, validation and unconditional love. When the child feels safe, acknowledged and loved, they become little angels.
1. Explain to your child what you expect from them so he or she can be prepared. If they don't know what to do then you can't be mad at them. Explain and give them a fair opportunity to show you. Remember children are born with a clean slate and it is our job to teach them. We can not expect them to have the wisdom we do, unless we share it.
2. Make a plan for bad behavior. Let them know the repercussions of bad behavior. Wether it be time out or taking something they enjoy away. Hitting a child should never be an option. Not only is it wrong on so many levels but it breaks down their self-confidence, trust and it teaches them to resolve their problems by hitting. Hitting is a cowardly way of dealing with frustrations about your own capabilities. It is like taking a diet pill instead of changing your diet. A change in diet reaps years of health. A diet pill is only temporary with hundreds of unknown side effects and negative repercussions.
3. Follow through. Every single time you must follow through and be consistent. Do not open your mouth with threats of time outs or taking something away unless you are really prepared to follow through with your words. Again, this does not have to be by yelling and screaming. This should be done in a calm but stern voice. Think about how you would want to be talked and explained to. Just because children are little does not mean they don't deserve respect.
4. Reward and praise. Make sure you encourage your children's good listening behavior and let them know how great they are being and how proud of them you are. Parents often get lost in telling their kids what to do and what not to do all the time that they forget to let them know how proud they are of them when they do something right. Everyday tell your children how proud you are of them, even if it is as little as bringing their dishes to the sink or saying thank you.
5. Connect. Communicate with your child and tune in several times a day to give them an opportunity to talk about their day and their feelings. Give them the attention they crave because you love them. Lack of attention creates drama. If we don't listen to our children's whispers then they will get louder and louder until we do.
6. Give them affection and cuddles often. Sometimes the only time a child gets attention is when they are bad so temper tantrums become their "show" or way to get the attention that they need. It becomes a vicious cycle to get you to react. This is also true when children hurt themselves. Sometimes they act as if they are more hurt just to get some TLC (tender loving care). Let them know that they don't need to create drama for attention, teach them to use their words and ask for it.
7. Don't give them all the fish, teach them to fish. As parents we are our children's greatest teachers. Teach them what they need to know to survive. As they get older start giving them chores and responsibilities so they can start becoming independent and develop self-worth. Being a divine parent means that you are raising good people who can not only take care of themselves but be an asset to their community. Avoid getting into the trap of enabling your children. Some parents identities get lost in raising their children and they feel like they have to over compensate and do everything for their children to make them the best parents. When in truth you are not doing them any good by having them rely so heavily on you and in turn they will most likely end up resenting you in the long run. My advice is as your children become older and therefor more independent, find a hobby, charity or volunteer to direct your energy towards!
8. Children want to please their parents. Make them a clear path so that they can do just that.
9. Show your children through your daily choices and actions, what is right and wrong. As much as you tell them, they will do what you do. Avoid contradicting yourself by doing something that you told them not to. Lead by example.
10. Instead of always reprimanding them, ask them questions so that they can problem solve and have their own realization. It is proven that when children are asked questions that trigger their intuition, they are able to see right from wrong more clear. It stimulates their own thought process and helps them to start making wise decisions, on their own, early on.
* Children are pure, innocent beings with all the possibilities in the world. It is our job to guide them with a wise mind and a loving heart, unconditionally. - Jesse Golden