Clinical psychologist Dr. Shefali Tsabarysays conscious discipline involves a parent trying to understand how her child-rearing may be rooted in unmet emotional needs of her childhood. A parent who has a fear of being unloved may lead her to over-please her child. She can have difficulties with setting boundaries, and her fear of conflict can make it hard for her to say no to her child.
Recognizing your trigger will make you aware of how your child provokes you. It can make it easier to address your child’s misbehavior without resorting to yelling or relenting to his demands, which don’t help discipline him.
2. Rethink how you discipline your child.
Pay attention to the cause of of his misbehavior. Dr. Tsabary recommends asking yourself, “What is the need being expressed by my child’s behavior?” Is he tired, hungry, sad, or frustrated? Sit him down and try to get to the bottom of the situation before anything else.
3. Know the difference between “main rules” and “flexible rules.”
Dr. Tsabary says another key part of conscious discipline is knowing the difference between main rules and flexible rules. Main rules are those that significantly affect a child’s behavior and cannot be negotiated, such as those related to respect for his parents’ authority and how he acts toward others.
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Flexible rules can be discussed more freely since they have no serious effects on a child’s well-being. These are rules related to interests a child can pursue and how he spends his free time. When you know the difference between these two types of rules, you can adjust your expectations of your child’s behavior.
4. Make eye contact.
Getting down on your child’s eye level when talking to him can help you create a deeper connection to him, which is another essential part of conscious discipline. This action can help him feel safe and in control — it also serves as a signal that you are giving him your full attention.