How to be a good father: Be a Fair Disciplinarian (2/4)

2/4. Be a Fair Disciplinarian

1. Reward your children appropriately

Being a disciplinarian isn’t all about punishing your children when they’ve made a mistake. It’s also about rewarding them when they’ve done something good so that they’re encouraged and want to repeat the behavior. Whether they’ve gotten straight As, helped a younger sibling with a tough task, or were mature enough to walk away from a fight, you should let them know how proud you are of them, take them out to their favorite restaurant, or just do whatever you can to let them know how much you appreciate their good behavior.

When your children are younger, rewarding them with affection can go a long way in helping them see how proud you are.

  • Though giving your children a treat or a new toy when they’ve behaved well occasionally can reinforce good behavior, you shouldn’t have toys or treats as the only incentive your children have for acting well. They should be motivated because you’ve taught them to separate right from wrong.
  • Don’t reward your children for something that is expected of them, like doing chores around the house or cleaning up after themselves. If you do, then they’ll feel like they’re doing you a favor.

2. Punish your children appropriately

To be a fair disciplinarian, you’ll have to punish your children when they’ve made a mistake. This doesn’t mean getting physical or psychologically cruel — it just means letting your kids know when they’ve made a mistake and showing that there are consequences for their actions. Once your child is old enough to reason, he should know when he’s made a mistake.[2]

  • Make sure that you and your wife agree on the punishment for the children. The consequences should be the same, whether Mommy or Daddy witnessed the action. This will help you avoid going into “good cop, bad cop” mode.

3. Be Consistent

Being consistent is just as important as having a system of punishments and rewards. If your child is misbehaving, the consequences should be the same every time, even if it’s inconvenient or you’re tired or out in public. And if your child does something great, don’t forget to make him feel special, no matter how tired or stressed out you are.

  • If you don’t act consistent, then your children will know that your reactions can be influenced by your moods.

4. Don’t yell

Though you may feel enraged by your children’s behavior, yelling is not the solution. If you have to yell, try yelling when you’re alone, in the shower, or into a pillow. But don’t yell at your children, no matter how bad the urge is. You can raise your voice slightly to let them know they’ve made a mistake, but if you yell or scream, they’ll be afraid of you and won’t want to communicate.

  • Though it may be tough, you shouldn’t let your children see you lose control.

5. Don’t get violent

No matter how angry you are, you should avoid hitting, hurting, or grabbing your children. This will hurt them physically and emotionally and will make them want to avoid you at all costs. If your children think that you may get violent, they will shut down and won’t want to be around you.

  • You should avoid being violent around your children, or around their mother, if you want to gain their respect.

6. Be feared and loved

It’s important that your children know that you’re a strict disciplinarian and that they can’t pull a fast one on you, but it’s equally important that they want your love and affection and have an amazing time bonding with you. To be a good father, you need to toe the line between enforcing tough lessons and also making your children feel loved and appreciated.

  • If you’re too concerned about being feared, then your children may not feel comfortable enough to open up to you.
  • If you’re too concerned about being loved, then your children may see you as a pushover who won’t lay down the law



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