If your discipline is going to be effective it is very important that you deal with situations when they occur.

Sometimes parents believe that their children will somehow magically correct themselves. Not likely!

What makes discipline effective is its predictability. When a child can anticipate what will happen before it does it teaches them two things. The first thing is that they have choices. For instance to behave one way and get the consequence they know is inevitable or behave a different way. The second thing is, it teaches them to predict in the first place. That’s what successful people do. They learn to predict and with a lot of practice they get very good at it.

Consequences can only be predictable if they are consistent. They need to be the result of a certain behavior. Not your mood, whether you’re angry or not, having a good day or a bad day, tired or not or anything other than your child’s behavior. You want your child to focus on their behavior not your mood.

If you only give your child consequences when you’re angry, not only will he or she pay attention to your anger, that will be the perceived cause of the consequence. “I got punished because mommy was mad” not “I got punished because I bit my little sister”.

[pullquote align=”right”]One of the biggest culprits to effective discipline is when parents give warnings. No Warnings![/pullquote]You must be consistent. Giving consequences some of the time is not very effective. Your child will never know when they are going to get the consequence and when they will not.

One of the biggest culprits to effective discipline is when parents give warnings. No Warnings!

When parents give warnings they are broadcasting to their children that avoiding consequences for their behavior is their parents responsibility, not theirs.

Along with the responsibility of following rules comes the responsibility of remembering the rules. Why would your child need to remember a rule if it’s your responsibility to do that and remind them of it?

It is clear that we can’t teach our children about rules, responsibility, consequences etc. without them being unhappy from time to time. They will not be happy when they get the negative consequences. You are not happy when you get a traffic ticket or a fine by the I.R.S.. Don’t expect them to be happy when they get their negative consequences.

It’s much easier to be consistent when your rules are well thought out. Think them through when you’re not angry. That way they will be fair, consistent and much easier to administer without conflicting feelings.

Finally, don’t expect your child to follow rules, anticipate consequences and take responsibility for their behavior just because you made the rules. It takes practice. That’s it, getting good at life and being successful takes practice. That’s what rules and structure gives your child. Practice at being successful!