Discipline in early childhood

The formative years are the first years of formation which are 0-6 years. These are the years where behavior or a child’s character are formed. These are the years that shape a child’s perspective of the world.

The formative years form the foundation of health or dysfunctionality of the individual in adulthood. As such, these years need to be handled with patience, care and a lot of understanding in order to shape healthy individuals.

The foundation of a well-adjusted child lays in a well-adjusted parent. A parent cannot offer health if they are devoid of it. Part of individuals’ health is the ability to set limits and allow consequences when the set limits are not followed as opposed to expecting results from behavior one has not defined. This is what discipline is.

People who are not healthy protect loved ones from the consequences of their actions which leads to indiscipline and irresponsibility.

Methods of discipline for children

The methods discussed below apply to parenting of children with no mental health issues and with no special needs.

If a child portrays behavior that causes the parents unnecessary concern such as excessive aggression, fear, anger, defiance or anything that is too excessive, it is advisable to have the child assessed by a professional.

Professional assistance to equip parents of children with special needs and childhood mental illnesses on methods of discipline that will work best for their children is essential. Handling such children the same way one would handle a child with no such condition could damage the child further.

Clearly define the limits and set consequences

This means that a parent needs to communicate what is acceptable and what is not. This is the first level of discipline across all ages. Communicating means helping a child understand using age appropriate methods. Communicating expectations with a child is not a one-off thing but needs to be repeated until the child learns.

In the first year, this is easy to implement. If a child for example bites a mother’s breast, a mother can separate the child from the breast, say no, and put the child down or just push and put the child down.

Children learn through repetition

When this is repeated, the child understands it. Why? Because it acts as punishment. Punishment of being separated from what gives the child pleasure and punishment of being separated from their comfort. The child will internalize that and act appropriately.

At the age of one year, babies tend to experiment a lot with their mouths.  A mother needs not get angry at the baby. Appropriate discipline helps a child to adjust behavior and remain healthy.

In the second year, children typically test limits. They are even referred to as “terrible two”. Notably, it is at this stage that a child is trying to assert their independence, and this is characterized by throwing tantrums and rebellion.

While a parent needs to allow a child to make their own decisions (basic ones such as trying to wear their own clothes, allowing children to feed themselves etc), the parent needs to ensure that limits are clear.

Terrible twos and tantrums

A good example is when you walk into a shop or supermarket, and the child wants to pick all kind of toys, sweets, chocolates and such things as are available. If restrained, they throw tantrums, cry or even roll on the floor.

There is nothing abnormal about the tantrums. The child is just testing how far they can be allowed as individuals. To correct that, there needs to be clear communication between the parent and child on how many items the child can pick from the shelves and the consequences for non-adherence.

Teach the child to communicate properly. Let them know that they cannot be understood if they cry and speak at the same time. Allow them to cry and only listen when they stop crying. That way they can clearly communicate what it is that they want and even if they cannot talk, then they can point. Do not feel obligated to do it all but stick to your initial agreement.

Remind yourself and teach the child that they cannot have their way all the time in life. However, should they do the obvious like crying, rolling on the floor or screaming, ensure they are in a safe place and let them roll some more, let them cry all they can. In fact, encourage them to cry their all, as you stand and observe.

Take a deep breath and observe them without shame or guilt. There is nothing shameful about being a responsible parent by training your child.

The challenge with most parents is they feel ashamed, mindful of what the society thinks about them and their competence as parents. Many observers would expect to have you spank the child or judge you a failed parent if you do not punish the child for the tantrums.

Some will rubbish you as a poor example of a parent. Others will shout all vulgarities at you. Just keep your cool. You choose either the longer healthier, and most appropriate way or the shortcut of spanking.

Take deep breaths and remind yourself that those who are judging you will not live with the consequences of having your child untrained. That will give you the strength to not give in to pressure.

If the tantrums happen in a safe place such as at home, it is okay to walk out of the room briefly in order to calm yourself. As much as possible, avoid scheduling outings around your child’s nap time or meal time, which could increase the chances of becoming irritable.

3 to 6 years old

3-6 years old is the school going age and these children understand things verbally. Talk to them of what is expected of them and confirm that they have understood. Allow them to ask questions. Set the limits and the consequences should they violate the set standards.

Be sure to effect the consequences set when limits are violated. Doing what you promised to do is what effective discipline is. At this stage, other additional discipline methods can be used such as:

1.    Being a good example

This models the required discipline in Children. You cannot use insulting words or shout if you have already set that as a limit. If putting legs on the table is wrong for children, then it needs to be wrong for you.

Unless you want the children to shout when angry then avoid shouting. Discipline is learnt through observation and not just through words.

2.    Being present and available for the children

Children react to seek attention when they feel abandoned by the parents and care givers. The best way to instill discipline in regard to attention seeking behavior is through presence, availability and readiness to listen to your children. Beating and punishing the child for attention seeking behavior is destructive.

3.    Reward system for good behavior

Parents communicate the expected behavior, an example of expected acceptable behavior for the child is to arrange their play items in their designated area each day after play, and if they do it consistently for a month, then the children can be rewarded by being taken for a trip, to a favorite eating joint, have some luxury item purchased etc.

Chose a reward that you can comfortably afford and that which you intend to fulfil. Reward can be a play day together in the fields. It does not have to be something that will cost money, it needs to be something children value. Using rewards is a good way of improving discipline.

4.    Using punishment

Used correctly, occasional punishment is helpful in molding a well-balanced child. Punishment should be used in moderation so do not fight your child over each and every bad behavior.

When children display unpleasant behavior, a parent needs to let them know that continuing in such behavior may cost some of their treasured privileges. for example; instead of watching cartoon, they will be in their room alone, facing the wall for 30 minutes, they will not do outdoor play for a week etc.

The defined consequences need to be effected if discipline has to be maintained. Punishing a child for something the child had no idea was not acceptable does not train a child. It might make the child stop doing it out of fear but no lesson is learned.

5.    Verbal appreciation

We bring up children with low self-esteem when we only point what they do wrong and never what they do right. Children who are never appreciated and praised grow up with so much self-doubt that they fail to take initiative at every step of life.

Raising children’s self-confidence is possible even as parents’ discipline. Giving positive affirmation teaches children the right behavior and also enhances it since all human beings thrive in validation.

To bring up healthy individuals, the parents needs to be healthy. Both rewards and punishment need to be used to bring up healthy children. No single method of discipline can produce well adjusted individuals.

By Joan Kirera-family therapist. For more visit www.joankirera.com: Facebook: joan kirera, YouTube: joan kirera

117 replies
  1. Isis
    Isis says:

    whoah this weblog is great i love reading your posts. Keep up the good work!

    You recognize, lots of people are looking around for this info,
    you can help them greatly.

  2. istanbul bakır fiyatları
    istanbul bakır fiyatları says:

    Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i was just curious
    if you get a lot of spam comments? If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?

    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

  3. minecraft games
    minecraft games says:

    Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it
    😉 I’m going to revisit yet again since i have book-marked it.
    Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

  4. http://tinyurl.com
    http://tinyurl.com says:

    What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve found It absolutely useful and it has
    helped me out loads. I’m hoping to give a contribution & help other users
    like its helped me. Good job.

  5. Renesmae Hicks
    Renesmae Hicks says:

    Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading
    correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same results.

  6. Helena Archer
    Helena Archer says:

    hello!,I like your writing so a lot! proportion we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your post on AOL?
    I need a specialist in this space to resolve my problem.
    May be that’s you! Taking a look forward to see you.

  7. Samantha Valentine
    Samantha Valentine says:

    Hello, I do think your blog could possibly be having internet browser compatibility issues.
    When I take a look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in IE, it has
    some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with
    a quick heads up! Apart from that, fantastic website!

  8. gta 5 apk bluestacks
    gta 5 apk bluestacks says:

    It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you some
    interesting things or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles referring to this article.
    I want to read even more things about it!

  9. Tommywed
    Tommywed says:

    I truly love your site.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you develop this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as Iím looking to create my very own blog and would love to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Cheers!

  10. tinyurl.com
    tinyurl.com says:

    It’s appropriate time to make a few plans for the future and
    it is time to be happy. I’ve read this publish and if I may I desire to recommend
    you few interesting issues or suggestions. Maybe you can write subsequent
    articles regarding this article. I want to read more things about it!

  11. supergirl
    supergirl says:

    I blog quite often and I seriously appreciate your information. Your article has really peaked my interest. I will take a note of your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well. Jordan Carlin Lyudmila

  12. visit site
    visit site says:

    I am no longer positive the place you are getting your info, but great topic. I needs to spend a while finding out much more or figuring out more. Thank you for fantastic information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

  13. web
    web says:

    I get pleasure from, cause I found just what I was looking for. You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  14. original site
    original site says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Thanks a lot!

    • Joan kirera
      Joan kirera says:

      I believe most of the work done in the past is still helpful. Check the other blog posts and let me know what you think.

  15. xBet
    xBet says:

    I just could not go away your website before suggesting that I extremely enjoyed the usual info a person provide to your visitors? Is going to be again regularly in order to investigate cross-check new posts.

  16. movie online
    movie online says:

    Thanks for your own work on this website. My mum takes pleasure in setting aside time for research and it is simple to grasp why. We notice all relating to the powerful way you provide very important tips and hints via your website and therefore strongly encourage response from visitors on this theme while our own simple princess is without a doubt understanding so much. Take pleasure in the rest of the year. Your performing a useful job. Frannie Ax Jauch

  17. movies
    movies says:

    Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is excellent, let alone the content! Berna Donovan O’Hara

  18. movies
    movies says:

    Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wondering your situation; we have developed some nice practices and we are looking to exchange methods with other folks, please shoot me an e-mail if interested.| Goldie Frants Ronalda

  19. online
    online says:

    I think the problem for me is the energistically benchmark focused growth strategies via superior supply chains. Compellingly reintermediate mission-critical potentialities whereas cross functional scenarios. Phosfluorescently re-engineer distributed processes without standardized supply chains. Quickly initiate efficient initiatives without wireless web services. Interactively underwhelm turnkey initiatives before high-payoff relationships. Shel Kenyon Fridell

  20. this article
    this article says:

    Hey there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a team of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us beneficial information to work on. You have done a outstanding job!

  21. נערות ליווי במרכז
    נערות ליווי במרכז says:

    May I just say what a comfort to uncover an individual who truly understands what they’re talking about on the internet. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people must read this and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you are not more popular given that you surely possess the gift.

  22. RobertWam
    RobertWam says:

    Can I simply just say what a comfort to discover somebody that really understands what they are discussing over the internet. You actually realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people ought to check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you’re not more popular because you definitely possess the gift.

  23. נערות ליווי
    נערות ליווי says:

    This is the right blog for everyone who would like to find out about this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a topic that’s been written about for ages. Great stuff, just wonderful!
    לחץ כאן

  24. ליווי
    ליווי says:

    Can I just say what a comfort to uncover somebody that genuinely knows what they’re discussing on the web. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people have to check this out and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe you’re not more popular given that you definitely have the gift.

  25. ליווי
    ליווי says:

    May I just say what a relief to find somebody that genuinely knows what they’re discussing on the internet. You actually know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More and more people must check this out and understand this side of the story. I can’t believe you are not more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.

  26. נערות ליווי
    נערות ליווי says:

    This is the perfect blog for anybody who would like to find out about this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a topic which has been written about for a long time. Great stuff, just excellent!
    ממליץ החום

  27. ליווי בתל אביב
    ליווי בתל אביב says:

    Right here is the perfect web site for anybody who really wants to find out about this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want toÖHaHa). You certainly put a new spin on a subject that has been discussed for a long time. Excellent stuff, just great!

  28. OrlandoDet
    OrlandoDet says:

    After I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you are able to remove me from that service? Thank you!

  29. izle
    izle says:

    Normally I do not read article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try and do so! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very nice post. Agustin Klecker

  30. here
    here says:

    Have you ever thought about writing an e-book
    or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog based upon on the same
    topics you discuss and would really like to have you share
    some stories/information. I know my subscribers would appreciate your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.