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The second step to effective discipline is consistency.
I know being a consistent disciplinarian can be overwhelming, particularly with young children, so I encourage parents to have a slogan for themselves that they use when things begin to get out of control.
Here’s an example: Charlie, age 5, deplores bedtime.
There are few experiences more stressful—or more embarrassing—than having your child throw himself to the ground in the middle of a crowded store.
Would you like to read a book or color before then?
Kids of every age are smart and very adept at sensing indecision or wavering in parents.
If a child thinks for one second that they can get away with an offense, they will try it—and if not called out by their parents for their indiscretion, will learn early on that they can work the system in their house!
It’s unreasonable to expect anything else, so while it can be frustrating for you as the parent to have to continue disciplining your child for what seems like the same offenses over and over, remember how frustrated your child is and how normal it is for her to act out.
Your role as the provider of loving, consistent discipline helps her to feel safe and secure, which will help her through this stage in her development.
Teaching your child boundaries, learning to say “no,” and coaching your child to practice good behaviors are all part of an important discipline strategy.