How to Develop Self-discipline in Your Kids – DOs and DON’Ts

Posted on August 20, 2012 · Posted in Parenting

One of the most important parenting skills that parents should develop is that of setting limits effectively. It is easy to set limits and enforce them in an authoritarian manner – where the kid obeys out of fear of punishment, but it is also easy to slack off and become too permissive. What is more difficult is to set effective limits that your child will listen to because he or she knows why those limits are there.

First things first: limits are important for kids as these will help keep them safe, healthy, and able to deal with the society around them.

However, parents should be aware that their responsibility to set limits is not about them. It’s about their kids. In setting limits, the parent’s main objective should be to teach their kids to set limits for themselves. In other words, parental limits help teach children how to develop self-discipline and self-control. The objective should not be to exert one’s authority over the kids.

Also, although living by the limits set by parents may sometimes have an unpleasant effect, children also learn how to deal with such effects. If they feel sad because they have to stick by a limit their parents have set, they will learn how to deal with the sadness. This will prepare them for society and will train them in handling their negative emotions, and this is part of their emotional growth.

Unfortunately, many parents find it hard to set limits without bordering too much on either authoritarian or permissive parenting.

Here are parenting tips that can help you find the middle ground between those two parenting styles.

How to Find That Middle Ground?

According to research, children develop as well-rounded individuals when they are faced with limits that are set with empathy. Although limitations have negative connotations, accompanying them with empathy makes the limits more acceptable and pleasing to the kids. Thus, she won’t resist it as much. Here are some tips on how to set limits with empathy.

1. Show your child that you are on his side. Before you set limits, you have to make your child understand that you only want what’s good for him.
2. Listen to your child. Before setting limits, let your child know that you understand him. To do this, you have to first listen to his point of view. Always offer genuine empathy to what he feels. Sometimes, even small problems can be a big deal to your kids.
3. Only set limits that need to be set. One of the easiest ways to fall into the authoritarian trap is to set limits just because you feel like it. Setting limits should always be backed by a good reason. Set limits that really need to be set. Otherwise, you may restrict him too much to the point that he will not be able to experience and discover things that are normal for him.
4. Spend time building a good bond with your kids. Take time off from work so you can spend time with your kids in a fun and free environment. Investing in a good parent-kid relationship will make setting limits with empathy far easier. If you have a nice bond with your kids, they will be more able to understand you, and they will easily grasp the fact that when you set limits for them, you really are doing that for their own good. Without a relationship, kids will fail to understand your empathy and will misinterpret limits as you trying to control them.

How to Decide Which Limits Need to Be Set

So which limits do you need to set? There is only one answer for this question: safety. Limits that will ensure your child’s safety are limits that you should not compromise no matter what. As a parent, you know that rules may change based on circumstances, but limits that focus on safety are always non-negotiable.

The only change in the limits you set will be due to age. As kids grow, the safety limits also do change. For example, you may prohibit your young child to climb the stairs on his own, but certainly wouldn’t need to do that for a teen. You also have to adjust these limits on the right schedule based on your kid’s age. These age-appropriate limits will keep your child safe while also allowing them to learn things that are important for them at their respective ages.Natural memory enhancer