Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let's go with another question today:

Q: I have read and loved your book. My only question is about discipline. I understand that it is unnecessary if I am doing the right things, but how should I react when say, my five year old kicks my three year old? I don't really know how to handle that. I explained that kicking is not okay and that it hurts people, but they are at each other's throats these days. What do I do?

A: What you are experiencing with your son is very normal and happens in every home. Even though it drives parents crazy, occasional fighting and teasing for kids is a form of play. Having said that, you don't want them to do it all the time. Here is how I would solve it. First, change your thought process when your children do something you think you should discipline them for. Most disciplines make the child mad at the parent and does not teach them how to change the behavior. Ask yourself why your 5 year old would want to kick the 3 year old? (If you can figure out the behavior, you can help him meet his needs and that will stop the bad behavior)

With kids this age lots of time they need more individualized attention. They can get kind of cranky when they feel they have to share you (or Christian) so they blame their siblings..thus the kicking. Doing this does takes time, but you will see an immediate change in your child's behavior and attitude towards their siblings. If you can spend time with them alone or make sure they get your undivided attention on a regular basis, it is amazing much more pleasant they become.

Another reason is they can be jealous of the younger sibling, especially if they younger child does everything right. Watch yourself and see if you are being more critical of the older one(which is easy) and then try finding ways to give them more praise.

It also might be that he is frustrated with something they can't accomplish so they will lash out at something or someone and usually the younger sibling takes the brunt of it. Try and observe what happens right before the kicking takes place and that should give you some idea why it is happening and how to solve it.

Sorry this is such a lengthy answer, but it is a process and once you start using it and have success it will come more naturally. The key comes in trying to understand the behavior. Your child doesn't understand why he is kicking. As you do this with your kids you are teaching them how to meet their own needs. As they get older, they will do it on their own naturally because you have done it with them. It goes along with Joseph Smith's statement of "teach them correct principles and they will govern themselves"

So in the end, it makes life easier for you! Let me know how things go.

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