Using Verbal Methods of Discipline
Verbal discipline is just what it sounds like—any method of child discipline that relies on words rather than physical discipline (such as spanking). Just saying "no" is a form of a verbal discipline.
When you give your kid a warning that they are about to get a time out or lose a certain privilege, you're using verbal discipline (who knew?).
Here are some tips for using verbal discipline effectively:
- As we all know, words can be as powerful as actions, so try to choose your words carefully. In other words, no name calling! The idea isn't to scar your kid for life, but to teach them to think twice before dumping cereal on the floor.
- Be as specific as possible. Saying "no" isn't enough to get a clear message across. Also, kids get tired of hearing it! Instead of "No jumping!" try "No jumping on the couch!" or make a statement like "We don't jump on the couch in our house."
- We know it's hard to keep your cool when your kid just used your new makeup to "paint" the living room wall. But try to speak calmly—when you're foaming at the mouth, it's hard to be understood!
- Create clear consequences for your kid's behavior. For instance, "the next time you play with my makeup without permission, you're going to lose dessert."
- Try using positive reinforcement—don't just comment on the times your kid messes up, but praise him when he does what you asked him to do (without your having to nag him!).
- As kids get older, try talking to them about what feelings led them to misbehave in the first place.