How to Discipline your Kid

There comes a time in every parent’s life when their child seems out of control. On the upside, it’s natural for children to defy rules and boundaries, because this is how they learn what is acceptable. Unfortunately, there are places where rebellious behavior is embarrassing and impolite—like the supermarket. You do not have to be an authoritarian to feel safe taking your kids out in public. Here is a technique you can use to help your child recognize what behavior is acceptable and where.

Currency

You need to find what your kid takes currency in. Currency is anything important to them. To do this, take a few days and really pay attention to your kid. Find out what they play with, where they play, and who they play with. A child’s currency is likely to be a toy, a treat, or a privilege. A personal example would be my younger cousins, who take currency in bedtime. For them, staying up until the last minute is more important than anything else. Keep in mind that once you find your kid’s currency, you need to make sure you don’t abuse it. How do you do this?

Develop a Rule System

Whether you are at home, or going to the supermarket, create a set of rules and tell your kids what they are. Have rules that are easy to follow, like no shouting in the supermarket. Rules are extremely important because kids need a chance to break the rules and experience the consequences first hand. These consequences should revolve around your kid’s currency. For example, if my cousins break a rule, they get a warning. A warning gives them a chance to redeem themselves, because no one is perfect. If they break it again, they go to bed thirty minutes early.

Keep in mind that yelling at your kid almost never helps—you will end up losing their respect. When your child breaks a rule, state the punishment and reason with a calm voice. They won’t take it personally, they know exactly what the rules are and the consequences for breaking them. This might be hard for some to do, but the rules must be enforced if you want to be taken seriously.

Think of that old saying, “treat people with respect to get respect.” You can treat your children with respect by letting them choose how they behave. Letting them make personal decisions builds independence and confidence, and in the end they will respect you too.