Am I a Bad Parenting because I don’t know how to Discipline my Kids?

I’ve had many clients ask me if they’re bad parents just because they don’t have a clue how to effectively discipline their children.  I always answer with a chuckle as if every parent who couldn’t discipline is bad than there sure are a lot of lousy parents out there.  

Not knowing how to discipline children is extremely common.  How would you know how to do it if you haven’t had children before?  Yes, some of it is common sense but a lot is training and practice.  I learned how to discipline kids by babysitting and volunteering in daycare centres when I was about 13.  I was always put with the challenging kids as enjoyed figuring out how to handle them.  I used a combination of leadership and fun which I carried right through all the kids/teens I worked with through out the years and certainly while raising my own two kids.  

So if you don’t know how to discipline, then you can learn how to do it.  Discipline is what leads to self-discipline.  Kids aren’t born with self-discipline, it’s up to us to teach then, that’s why disciplining them is so important. 

You can’t effectively discipline without your children’s respect, but once you have it discipline is approximately:

99% positive encouragement and 1% punishment  (if even that)

So what if you’re currently at 50% and 50%, or maybe even worse?  How long does it take to get respect?  That depends on 2 things:

  • the age of your children
  • your willingness to replace old habits with new ones

I’ve had clients who saw huge changes in just 2 days and others who needed several months to get things sorted out.  It’s all up to you and how quickly you can change your parenting style.  You don’t need to change everything, often it’s something really small that you’re not even aware of that needs adjusting.

What you say and how you say it are extremely important.  Here’s a good example of how NOT to talk to a 6 year old who is consistently cheeky and defiant:

“Why are you always so difficult?  What’s wrong with you?  Do you want to have media blackout for the next month?!” 

A better way:

“You know it’s not okay to be cheeky so there’ll be no media tonite.  But instead, how about we play a board game?”

You’re replacing a negative situation with a positive one.  Family games nights are bonding and fun.  Media blackout is the consequence for being cheeky but that’s it, forgive and forget.  Move on and replace the negative with a positive.  

So how do you handle it if your child flips out over media blackout and throws the board game across the room?  You completely ignore it, let them work it out on their own.  You are calm, silent and disengaged.  

Of course there’s a lot more to it but that’s the basic premise.  You lay down the law, follow through and don’t get pulled into any dialogue explaining yourself.  If you allow yourself to be pulled into conversations whereby you’re explaining your authority … you’ve just lost it.  

Check out how to get your kids to do what you want.  It’s my “As Soon As Method”.  

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

Note:  Don’t forget to sign up to my Newsletter to get your FREE “3 Step Parenting Plan” which will help you get started with Discipline.  Just to go the top right of the page.

Dealing with ADHD Emotions in Children

Emotions can be difficult for your ADHD child to control.  But there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Provide Structure:  Provide as much structure as possible.  That doesn’t mean you have them over-scheduled, just that there is a very predictable structure with every daily task:  breakfast, getting dressed, dinner, homework, bedtime.
  • Stay calm:  If your child is acting out it’s important that you don’t get pulled into the chaos.  Stay calm and don’t raise your voice.  Allowing yourself to get upset just makes matters worse.  After the scene is over, go into your bedroom and scream into a pillow if needed.
  • Help them Self-Soothe:  I worked with a child with ADHD who just couldn’t sit still to concentrate on his schoolwork.  He was very bright, just couldn’t calm down.  I asked him what he did to calm himself down and he looked at me all confused as didn’t have a clue how to do that.  I tried several activities with him but the only thing that worked was swinging.  So that’s how we did his schoolwork.  We went to the playground and swung and worked.  Turns out I can’t swing and read so ended up soooo nauseous.  But, we got through tons of schoolwork that afternoon.  I wonder if fidget spinners were created with kids with ADHD in mind.  Their hands are spinning so their minds can focus on homework. 

Don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.  It includes my FREE “3 Step Parenting Plan” which is a great way to introduce structure into the family.  Sign up is at the top right of this page.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach