How To Guide Children

Are you looking for alternative discipline methods to handle sibling rivalry? Do you wonder how to guide children without punishment or a fancy reward system?  Contrary to popular belief, it’s not that hard.  Today’s article reveals three quick discipline techniques you can use when siblings squabble.

Siblings rivalry can be a real challenge for even the best parents.  Things like birth order, personality differences, and dynamics outside of the home can affect sibling rivalry.  When children are close in age, or when they are the same gender, sibling rivalry tends to increase. Regardless of the dynamics, the endless competition and animosity between siblings can make your blood boil.

Here are some alternative discipline methods:

Guide children by calming your emotions: 

As you regulate your emotions, children learn to manage their feelings by observation.  So guide children and model what you want children to learn during sibling rivalry.  However, don’t take action when you’re upset. If you cannot get in touch with your love for your child, then ask yourself what a great parent would do in this situation?  If that doesn’t work, then stop, pause, breath, and wait until you’re calm before you address the situation.

Calming your emotions is an excellent alternative discipline method.  However, you must resist the impulse to take action when you are upset.  It raises the likelihood that anything you say or do will come across as punitive instead of warm, responsive, and firm.  Remember, calm parents raise calm children.

Employ a Time-in: 

When sibling rivalry erupts, employing a time in can help both children cope better by talking about difficult emotions. Remove children from the situation and sit with them to help them process the feelings that drove the conflict and hatred.  In other words, stay with your child and let him have his meltdown in your warm and responsive presence.

Expressing emotions with a safe, attentive, accepting adult is what helps kids move through challenging and intense feelings.  It helps them learn how to self-soothe and problem-solve when they are stressed out. You can say something like, “Sweetie, you seem to be struggling a bit. Come over here and sit by me because I want to understand you better.  Can you put words to what you are feeling?”

Keep in mind that time in doesn’t mean that you give up the idea of setting limits:  No running into the street, no hitting, no jumping on the couch, no roughing up the family pet.  It means that you help children put language into their feeling states.  Naming big emotions allows children to tame big emotions so they can calm down and behave better.

Validate and honor their feelings:

Don’t worry.  Validating and honoring feelings does not mean that you have to agree with explosive emotions.  You are only acknowledging and accepting them.  Remember, when fight or flight hormones hijack children, learning positive lessons become difficult if not impossible.

Avoid lecturing and giving life lessons as you validate upset feelings. As feelings are discussed, it can help expand a child’s awareness of himself and why he acted out.  Validating and honoring feelings will help your kiddo calm down, feel understood, and much closer to you.  Even more, he will be open to your guidance about why we don’t say “shut up” or tell lies because “It cuts invisible cords that connect our hearts.”

A Point to Ponder

Staying calm, employing a Time-in, and honoring feelings are all great alternative discipline methods for children. Together, they are essential elements of a parenting style that is warm, responsive, and firm with your expectations.

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