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Essential Rules of Parenting: Discipline Do's and Dont's

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YoungBoyYelling,LostTemper

If You Lose Your Temper, You're the Loser


Our children learn their behavior by watching ours. If we say please and thank you, they learn to do it too (in time). If we treat other people politely, they'll do the same thing. If we smoke crack cocaine before breakfast, they'll think that's normal. And if we lose our temper when other people don't do as we want them to, they'll think that's the correct behavior.

Most of the time it's quite easy to behave as we want our children to. But when your blood pressure starts to rise, that's when the example you set is so critical -- just when it's hardest to set a good example (damn). So how do you deal with your child when they argue with you? Do you manage to stay calm, not raise your voice, and listen to what they have to say? It's not easy, God knows, but it's the only way to get the same response back from them.

In most couples, for some reason, one is much more prone to lose their temper with the kids than the other. If this is you, don't feel like a failure -- your behavior is normal. But you do need to understand that every time you lose your temper with the kids, you effectively sanction their angry response. And that makes you the loser. It also won't help their future relationships if they grow up thinking that shouting gets you what you want and is the standard way to handle conflict.

The same applies, by the way, to hitting. Whatever your opinion about hitting, the fact is that it doesn't work. It sends your kids the message that, sometimes at least, hitting people is the way to get what you want. If you do it in the heat of the moment, you let them know that you've lost control. That's pretty scary for kids, as well as indicating that it's okay to lose control and be aggressive. If you do it in cold blood, that shows you've thought it through and have come to a considered opinion that aggression is the answer.

Next: Apologize if You Get it Wrong

More on: Discipline Strategies

From The Rules of Parenting Copyright © 2008, FT Press. Used by permission of FT Press, and Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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