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Although the discipline field is vast, many of the most popular discipline books address similar themes. Here are some of the big ones:
1. Aim for the middle ground between being too punitive and too permissive.
2. Don't use physical punishments like spanking and slapping.
3. Don't use psychological punishments such as name-calling and insults.
4. When you or your child spiral out of control, take time to cool off.
5. Offer choices.
6. Learn how to manage your own anger.
7. Provide encouragement and positive feedback.
8. Let your child experience consequences to behavior.
9. Don't hold grudges. Once the behavior has been dealt with, give your child a clean slate.
By Evonne Lack
For more "serious offenses," come up with a consequence other than time-out. For example, if your child persistently teases the dog and is old enough to know better, you might take away her television privileges for a couple of days.
Rewards motivate your child to do well. This could be as simple as parental praise. In some cases you might want to set up a charting system with more tangible rewards. For example, for every morning that your child is ready on time to go to daycare, she gets a star in her chart. When she racks up five stars, she gets a treat.
These brief descriptions don't tell the whole story, of course. It's not as if boundary-based discipline doesn't include preventive techniques — it does. And gentle discipline includes the use of consequences.
In fact, all of these styles overlap. The differences are more a matter of what they emphasize. Think about the primary colors — red, blue, and yellow. They contain no common elements. Discipline philosophies are more like secondary colors (orange, purple, green), which contain blends of more than one hue. Some may have a dash more red, and others may pour on the blue. What color will your discipline style be?
© BabyCenter, LLC 1997-2009. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
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