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Children’s Chatter: Avoid discipline problems with your child

By Susan Matherly

Contributing writer

Disciplining your child may be one of the toughest issues that you will have to deal with as a parent.  You may be frequently torn between giving in to your child’s wishes and knowing when to be firm in a decision.  The quicker that you assume control over your child’s behaviors, the easier it will be to maintain peace and harmony in the household.

It’s important that you establish with your child that you, as his parent, have the final say in his activities … from what he eats and when, to what time he goes to bed, to how he will be dressed.  This can be accomplished easily when you establish routines for your child and follow them as much as possible.

It’s also important that you establish specific rules for your child as well as appropriate consequences should he break a rule.  For example, if he intentionally breaks his sister’s toy, he needs to be punished appropriately.  One option is to use time out, which could be as simple as having your child sit in one spot on the couch with the television turned off.

Just as you need to correct your child when he misbehaves, you should also take advantage of situations when you can reward him for good behavior.  These types of situations allow your child to earn extra privileges, such as being treated to ice cream for keeping his room clean all week.

Above all, make sure you pay attention to your child and show him how much you love him.  This is especially important if you have been away from your child because of work.  In many instances, behavior problems in children are due to a lack of attention from the parent.

Susan Matherly is director at A Children’s Place, a service of Ephraim McDowell Health.  She has a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science and a master’s degree in public health.  She can be contacted at (859) 236-71716.