Winning the I Want War!

Winning the I Want War!

We've all seen it. The temperamental 3-year-old whose seemingly unprovoked tantrums leave his desperate parents scrambling to appease him; the bossy preschooler who never learns to share toys or interact socially with other children or strangers. How do you prevent your child from becoming one of them?

throwing tantrum

Winning the “I want” war

Never-ending Tantrum

We’ve all seen it. The temperamental three-year-old whose seemingly unprovoked tantrums leave his desperate parents scrambling to appease him; the bossy preschooler who never learns to share toys or interact socially with other children or strangers. How do you prevent your child from becoming one of them? Discipline of course!

Children need to be disciplined early in their lives. This is because they are more impressionable during their early years and they can retain lessons learned early on. But before you start disciplining your child, there are a few thing that you must do:

1) Set some rules and make sure your child understands them
To be fair to your child, you should set some ground rules that you expect him to follow. It’s ridiculous to discipline someone for breaking a rule, if they did not know it was a rule to begin with. Your children should also be clear of the penalties for breaking the rules.

2) Do not enforce too many rules in one shot.
Otherwise, your house will be a constant war zone. Sit down and make a list of the four or five areas that are most important to you and your partner. Are table manners extremely important to you or is putting away toys a priority? Enforce the most important rules first, and close one eye with regards to the rest.

3) Be consistent with your rules
If you insist that the set of rules be followed each day, your child will learn discipline, even though it may not seem that way at the time. Remember that if a four-year old complies with your rule, but talks back, that is still compliance. It’s okay if he has the last word, as long as he’s following the rule.

4) Keep your temper in check
Some parents may feel so angry that they tend to overdo disciplining. If you can not exclude your temper from the disciplinary action, you might end up hurting your child and the bond between the two of you. The last thing you want is to harbour resentment in your child. Ask your partner for help when you feel out of control or overly emotional.

Disciplining strategies
Once you’ve set the rules, it’s time to figure out your discipline strategy. You can try out many disciplinary strategies for your four year old but these have shown best results. Also keep in mind that not all four year-olds are the same, so different strategies might work for different children.

1) Talking to him (Verbal Reprimand)
One way to effectively discipline your child is to make him understand why you are upset with him. Making him understand the importance of behaving accordingly can be beneficial for both you and your child. Think of an angle that suits the way a four year old thinks. They do not usually understand complicated reasoning so it is best to keep it simple and basic. Giving an example will help but still keep it simple for better comprehension. If the child understands why he has to behave accordingly or why he is being reprimanded, there is a bigger possibility that he will keep this the lesson in mind.

2) Reward and punishment system
Reward your child if he behaves well and punish him when he misbehaves. The best rewards are praises, cuddles and admiration and the best punishments are to take away some of his privileges. Don’t bother shouting, it’ll only serve to either frighten your child or cause you a sore-throat.

3) Time out
A time out disciplinary system can be effective if your child listens to you or obeys the time out rules. Some children stay in the corner or obey when they are told to do so while others go back to mischief as soon as you turn your back to them. Children who tend to be really disobedient even when they are told to have a time out are more difficult to discipline and will need a different kind of disciplinary action.

4) Modified Grounding
Many parents use grounding as a discipline technique with their older children. However, when parents ground their children for long periods, it often loses its effectiveness because there is typically little incentive for children to behave well during the grounding. Modified grounding involves brief and intense grounding but the child is allowed the opportunity to earn his or her way off grounding by completing a job assignment.

5) Side Bar Spanking
Yes, we know parenting kids can be tough. There are days you just want to fling your little emperor out of a window or smack them hard on their bum. But seriously spanking them is most probably not going to do your child any good. It might shut your child up for or get him to behave himself for a short while, but it might also psychologically scar your child for life. Remember that hitting children teaches them to become hitters themselves. Virtually all of the most dangerous criminals were regularly threatened and punished in childhood. So if you’ve been spanking your child, stop and ask yourself whether they REALLY deserve it and if that spanking is going to teach your child any thing. Try one of the above strategies instead, if they don’t work, speak to a licensed child care professional about other positive techniques.


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