We all hear about positive discipline for toddlers and preschoolers but does it carry over to big kids ages 7 to 10? Parenting big kids can be just as stressful and hairy as parenting the little ones. The big kids have several years under their belt and have a better handle on what really pushes your buttons and what your limits as a parent are. They are still exploring and learning, but their environment has probably changed a bit. They have gone from staying at home with mom and play dates to attending school with hundreds of other kids from all walks of life. They are learning at a much faster pace!
Big kids face a whole new set of choices. They have learned that they can make choices, good ones or bad ones. They become more independent. All kids mess up from time to time! Positive discipline will allow your child to continue to grow, mature and take responsibility for their own actions.
- Listen to your child. What they have to say is very important. It is a great opportunity to teach your child active listening. Your big kid is more likely to respond if they know and trust you are listening. Communication between child and parent builds a stronger relationship that you will want to have when they are teens.
- Know why the behavior is happening. Sometimes the child is simply making a bad choice. Other times behaviors we label as bad are actually the best way the child knows how to cope with a situation. Once we figure out the source of the problem we can redirect the child.
- Pick your battle. We are not fond of nagging and kids do not like it either. Some issues are just not worth the struggle.
- Focus on controlling your temper rather than your child. Your child is already upset, yelling will only cause your child to be more upset. Approach the situations calmly and rationally. Immediately remove your child so that the problem can be solved. If your child is throwing a fit in the store, instead of yelling back, calmly remove him, even if it means abandoning your cart.
- Be consistent! Your child will know the expectations and consequences. Show him you are willing to follow through. This works for good and bad behavior.
- Never bribe! Sending your child the message they can be bought is NOT the right message. Good behavior is expected. Instead of bribing your child, give positive compliments when you see them making a good choice.
Photo courtesy of Mobilino Family Finder