If you’re a single parent, you know how hard it is to maintain a balance between work, your home life, your love life, and all the other aspects of your life, as well as your child’s life. A common thing to happen in families that have become split up is for one parent to be more lenient than the other. The good cop bad cop syndrome needs to be balanced just like all the rest of the things going on in your life. If this is the first time you’ve had to really discipline your kids you might not really know what to do. Often times we do what our parents did with us. This can be troublesome if you were disciplined in a harsh manner when you were growing up, if this is the case lets break that cycle shall we? Everything can be solved with words. Communication with your kids will go a long way towards helping them understand the rules of the household and how to properly behave as a person in society in general. Here are a couple things to think about:
- Talk about it. If your child has done something wrong, tell them why. Grounding them and yelling and taking away things doesn’t do anything but make everyone more upset. If you approach the situation in a calm and rational way, you’re not only creating a situation where everyone can speak their mind in a constructive environment but you’re also showing your kids how to act in these kinds of situations. Discipline shouldn’t be about the punishment, although sometimes punishment is warranted, it should be about the lesson to be learned.
- Being reasonable. It’s easy to overreact when your child does something wrong. The line between being worried about their safety and upset with their behavior can become blurred. Doing something that’s dangerous like playing near an electric socket is something they need to learn not to do. A parent might appear angry rather than worried about their kid’s safety; these reactions can look the same. Being mindful about how you set the rules and approaching them when they break them will help build and maintain the structure that kids need.
It’s common for a newly single parent to have no idea how to discipline their kids if only one parent primarily did the disciplining in the previous household. This role now falls to you. A single parent must represent both parents in the home. The main thing to do as a single parent trying to lay down and maintain ground rules for the home and for their lives is to make the rules and consequences of breaking those rules reasonable. If you push too hard, your kids will act out. If you don’t push hard enough, they will think they can get away with anything they want. Finding this middle path will help you and your kids live together and might teach one another a few things. Finding this harmony between rules, consequences and rewards will be difficult and at times confusing. What you teach them, will be passed on to their kids and will echo into eternity. Make sure they, and you, know what the right thing to do is.
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