What do you consider assertive discipline? Is it just another word for punishment? Or is it something altogether different? What if we consider it to be a learning opportunity that guides our children on their journey to adulthood?
When considered as a learning opportunity, assertive discipline involves being consistent, acting quickly when children and teenagers behave inappropriately and teaching them how to behave appropriately. They also need a family environment that is secure, predictable and loving. A warm, loving relationship between parent and child is vital for parents to use expectations as learning opportunities for our children and teenagers.
Think about the basic ground rules you want in your house (ie. What???s important to you?) and make them developmentally appropriate. For toddlers, ground rules might be ???Keep your hands to yourself. Be gentle???; for pre-schoolers, ???Walk in the house???; for older children and teenagers, ???Speak respectfully???. Stay calm when expectations are not met and be sure to praise and encourage your children and teenagers when they behave well. We all like to be noticed for the things we do well!
Be sure to talk with your children and teenagers about these ground rules. With teenagers, it is important to involve them in negotiating family rules and responsibilities from the start. Sometimes we can avoid problems by thinking ahead and clearly stating what are our expectations for behaviour.
Triple P is the Positive Parenting Program. To explore answers to more of your parenting questions, visit www.triplep-parenting.ca<http://www.triplep-parenting.ca> or call the Health Action Line at 1-800-660-5853.