On disciplining your older child: Tips for Singapore parents
Get tips for disciplining your older children from this mother (and grandmother!) who has 25 years of experience under her belt.
Disciplining your older child: Why you should be trying different approaches
By the time your children reach the age of 5 or 6, they will most probably have developed a fairly strong sense of reasoning. Your children are spending the better part of each day in school — learning how and why things work, the reasoning behind each concept, the rules of English and so on.
It’s only natural then that they would question why you require them to do this or that. Being argumentative isn’t necessarily something they are doing to be naughty — they simply want to know why (though sometimes they are just being naughty).
Of course, your child being argumentative and being curious about certain things may lead to frustration on your part, especially when he ends up crossing the line or breaking rules.
In such cases, you should have certain ‘tricks’ and methods for disciplining your older child, to avoid things from getting out of hand.
Take charge now: Being in control when disciplining your older child
It’s one thing to know why your older child is challenging you. It’s quite another to know what to do about it, and how to maintain a home where respect and discipline are a natural part of everyday life.
One thing you need to know about disciplining your older child: It is important that you grow and change with your children. As a parent, you cannot consider yourself a victim of change.
This means you cannot maintain the status quo in discipline because it is what you are familiar with. You need to embrace the changes in your child for what they are, and grow and change with them.
Think about it this way: When your child went from needing a full car seat to a booster seat, you didn’t hesitate to provide him with one. It’s the same when it comes to discipline — adjust or change your methods as your child grows.
What changes do you need to make when disciplining your older child?
Because your child now possesses the capability of making deductions and reasoning with you, your disciplinary actions need to reflect the same. The following are methods of discipline some parents of 8- to 12-year-olds have found to be both fair and effective.
Creative and effective disciplinary measures
1. Encourage them to speak English instead of ‘Whine-ese.’
Do your children whine? If yes, refuse to listen to them and reply to their statements.
Simply tell them you don’t understand the ‘Whine-ese’ language and tell them you will talk to them only when they speak English.
2. Practice makes perfect.
Do your children tend to slam doors? Require them to practice opening and shutting the door 10 or 15 times as quietly as they can.
Pretty soon, this will come natural to them, since they are already used to it!
3. Don’t be their audience.
Do your children throw tantrums and engage in stomping, yelling, crying, or all three combined?
If your answer is yes, send them to their room or out into the backyard (make sure it’s safe enough for your child to be left alone) to throw a tantrum without an audience. Leave them be for 5-10 minutes.
They’ll soon find out that when no one is paying attention or their tantrums aren’t getting results, it’s no fun — and they’ll most probably stop throwing them.
4. Put their things away in hard-to-reach places.
Do you have a messy child, i.e. one who can’t seem to pick up his toys or find his way to the hamper with his dirty laundry? Put his things away for him — but put them somewhere he might find it difficult to get to. Do this a few times, with clear explanations as to why you’re doing so.
When your child realizes that getting his stuff will be more difficult to do if Mum or Dad puts them away, he may become a bit more conscientious and a whole lot neater.
5. Repetition is key.
Messy children will also benefit from what I like to call repeat performances.
Here’s how it works: For example, when your child ‘forgets’ to put his dirty clothes in the laundry, have him take his clothes to the hamper, put them in, take them out and return to his room or the bathroom (or wherever he left them) and repeat the process 10 times.
Of course, you need to do all of the above-mentioned tactics in a firm but loving manner. Remember, it’s never okay to abuse your child in any way, or humiliate him, especially in front of others.
Disciplining your older child by using family meetings
Before you employ your new disciplinary measures, use your child’s new reasoning skills in a positive manner.
Using the forum of a family meeting, explain to your children the expectations and rules of your household (they will likely need to change a bit during this time, as well). You will also want to discuss the reasons why these rules and expectations are in place, and the consequences of breaking these rules and expectations.
Remember, when it comes to disciplining your older child, or even younger children, make sure your child understands that you are doing everything out of love, and not out of anger or spite.
What are your tips for disciplining older children? Leave a comment and let us know!