By Auntie Artichoke
Many fathers assume discipline means yelling, threatening or spanking children when their behavior is unacceptable. However, discipline can be interpreted in many ways and dealt with differently among different fathers.
The first thing to know about discipline is the two ways it can be interpreted. Some men may be confusing discipline — which means loving guidance and teaching — with punishment. Punishment is punitive and harsh.
Their own fathers worked long hours and the mother did most of the parenting, sometimes with threats such as, “just wait till your father comes home!” Consequently, some men grew up without a strong, caring father. Those men may not be sure how to parent or how to get cooperation without punishing or yelling.
If there is a blended family, or the children are in two households, it is very important for dads to be consistent in giving kind, firm guidance and discipline. Be consistent. If one parent is permissive and the other is punitive or strict, the combined methods constitute a mixed approach. For a child, this is like living in a country where two different governments are operating simultaneously.
Children figure out quickly that the rules are different between two parents, and they learn to play one against the other. This mixed, or inconsistent, approach brings out the most extreme reactions in parents and children. So, as a dad, make a decision that your method of parenting will be consistent and respectful. Once your child knows what your expectations are, he or she will more easily rise to meet those guidelines and trust you.
With that being said, building a trusting relationship with a child is key to proper discipline. Here are five tips fathers can use to discipline a child, while also building a strong father-child bond:
1. Be firm, kind and respectful in setting boundaries.
2. Try to say yes, more often than no. “Yes, you may have a cookie … right after dinner.”
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