Sister Lilian Centre’s Top 9 Discipline Guidelines

Discipline is one of those ‘sensitive’ parenting issues, and yet, it really doesn’t need to be. After all, the purpose of discipline is to raise confident, caring, compassionate, socially well-adjusted children through to young adulthood.
By nature, young children are self-centered (it takes time to see the importance of others), irrational (they don’t yet understand that certain types of behaviour are unacceptable), curious (often, they want to explore things their parents would prefer them not to) and messy (for them, grubbiness is seldom a problem).
Excessive stubbornness, tantrums, and other unacceptable behaviours, like hitting is all about a strong will, an excitable personality, the need for significant attention – and noticing that you react very strongly to this behaviour. For all forms of so-called ‘negative behaviour’ in children, follow the guidelines below, which I have found to consistently help parents and their children over many years.

9 guidelines for behavioural issues with little ones

  1. An example is the most important aspect to discipline, so consider your own actions; the word ‘discipline’ comes from the word ‘disciple’, which means ‘follower’ and babies and small children will copy their parents’ behaviour!
  2. Spend significant time with your child. Nothing must disrupt this time, and you should rediscover the joy and fantasy of a childhood world with your child, reading, picking flowers, stroking the dog, etc.
  3. Reward ‘positive behaviour’ by interacting with your child when they’re well behaved, not only when they misbehave. A child would rather risk negative attention than none at all, and if unacceptable behaviour is all that gets attention, then that’s how she’ll behave.
  4. Have a few wise, loving, consistent house rules that recognise your child’s nature (not too adult-like!), and are agreed upon by both parents and not disputed in front of your child.
  5. Use the word ‘no’ as seldom as possible, as it won’t be effective if you overuse it without any action to back it up. The most important time to use a firm ‘no’ is when your child’s safety is at stake, and to respect other people and their property.
  6. Learn and use the skill of distraction, as this is an excellent tool for teaching self-discipline. Help your child to rather channel her negative energy into something pleasant or constructive. This teaches the lesson that your mood can improve a great deal if you pace yourself by consciously doing some other activity. The key to successful distraction is to notice the build-up of negative patterns, and offer a compelling alternative activity. Generally, if this involves animals, water, mud or bubbles, most little ones will respond easily.
  7. If, after all of this (and you mustn’t skip any of these steps!), your little one still throws a tantrum or displays other unacceptable behaviours, simply say a firm ‘no’, turn around and walk away, without making any further eye contact or conversation. Keep moving, as your little one will probably follow you. By letting your child get to you now, you would be the audience, your child the actor! Remove the audience, and no actor will perform. This technique may need to be adapted if you’re out and about, but if you’re consistent at home, tricky situations will occur less frequently elsewhere.
  8. Remember too that little ones pick up on their parent’s anxiety, and then play up. Take Sister Lilian Rescue Emotion homeopathic remedy to remove your anxiety, and cut through behaviour that builds into a vicious circle.
  9. Toddlers who have a tendency to throw tantrums often do very well on a course of Sister Lilian homeopathic Chamomilla Tablets – I often call Chamomilla the ‘personality-panelbeating’ remedy (in the best possible sense of the word, of course!).