There is no question, disciplining your kids at any stage is tough. Take your pick between toddler tantrums, defiant preschoolers, and back-talking tweens.
Just what is the right way to discipline so you can raise emotionally happy children?
In an interview with parenting expert, Dr. Deborah Gilboa, aka Dr. G, she said, “It is not parents' responsibility to make their kids happy.” She goes on to say, “teach them the skills they need to find and make their own happy.”
Dr. G has written on her blog, “if you want to make them happy teach them to be confident, competent and strong relationship skills.”
Let’s start with the toddler years. I am in the midst of this difficulty with my little 3-year-old angel who for the most part is a joy. However, there are times when he can turn on a dime to exert his independence, and try to manipulate to get what he wants.
Dr. G said that we need to name the bad behavior for toddlers. Say something like, “We don’t hit.” Talk to them about positive relationships and behaviors that makes someone a good friend. Teach them what would be a “deal breaker.” She advocates teaching them to be respectful, even when they are angry.
It is really easy to give in, so they are compliant. In an article she wrote for the HuffingtonPost.com, Dr. G questioned another expert's opinion about what would make her toddler happy.
Dr. G wrote, “It involves a Snickers bar and Cartoon Network. But if you give him those things, then I don't really want to live with him. And you probably don't want him in your kids' preschool class, do you?”
She says teaching a positive attitude, good work ethic, perseverance, and character that builds confidence are the “crucial ingredients in happiness,” not candy and cartoons.
Dr. G does not believe in overdoing with praise or rewards. On her blog she wrote, “There is too much pressure on parents and educators to make kids happy, and see them succeed, it feels impossible to allow our kids to learn the hard life lessons.”