a child to behave in an acceptable manner is a necessary part
of raising the child well. Discipline varies at different
ages. There is no one right way to raise children, but child
and adolescent psychiatrists offer the following general guidelines:
generally want to please their parents. Wise parents can in
their disciplining activities use children's desire to please.
parents show joy and approval for behavior that please them,
this reinforces good behavior in the child. When parents
show disapproval of dangerous or unpleasant behaviors at
the early stages, they are more likely to be successful
when the child is older.
way the parent corrects a child or adolescent for misbehavior
should make sense to the youngster, and not be too strict
that the child or adolescent cannot later feel the parent's
love and good intentions.
and adolescents can and do anger parents, and parents need
good self-control when they are angry. Although a loud "no"
may get the attention of a toddler heading for a street
full of traffic, it does not quiet a crying baby. For older
children, there should be clear expectations, agreed upon
by both parents and clearly told to the child or adolescent.
our mixed society, where cultures and parenting styles are
varied, different families expect different behaviors from
child may be allowed to come home at any time, while another
child may have a strict curfew. When parents and children
disagree about rules, an honest exchange of ideas may help
them learn from each other. However, parents must be responsible
for setting the family's rules and values.
unwanted behavior from happening in the first place is easier
than stopping it later.
better to put breakable or treasured objects out of the
reach of toddlers than to punish them for breaking them.
Parents should encourage curiosity but should direct it
into activities like playing with puzzles, learning to use
paints or reading a book.
a child's unwanted behaviors can help the child have the self-control
needed to become responsible and considerate of others.
does not happen automatically or suddenly. Infants and toddlers
need parental guidance and support to begin the process
of learning self-control. Self-control usually begins to
show by age six. With parents guiding the process, self-control
increases throughout the school years. Teenage experimentation
and rebellion may occur, but most youngsters pass through
this period and become responsible adults--especially if
they had good early training.
pass methods of discipline and what is expected of children
from generation to generation.
attempts are not successful, it is often helpful for someone
outside the family to make useful suggestions on raising a
child. Professionals trained in child growth and behavior
can give information on the way children think and develop.
They can also suggest different approaches to changing unwanted
behavior. The patience of parents, and help from caring professionals,
when necessary, will help smooth the way for children to learn
and enjoy what society expects of them and what they can expect
#43 Updated 11/95