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The rules of assertive discipline

Discipline isn’t a dirty word.  In fact, it helps children understand that their behaviour always has consequences.  An important lesson to learn.  Discipline teaches children to accept responsibility for their behaviour and to consider the feelings and needs of others.

What is assertive discipline?  It means that you are prepared.  You set clear ground rules and tell your child what to do rather than what not to do.  Assertive discipline also means giving clear, calm instructions.  It requires parents to be consistent from one day to the next.

How can parents use assertive discipline?

  • Ignore minor misbehaviour when it seems that your child is trying to get your attention through his behaviour.
  • Use a firm voice. Using a raised voice will teach your child that he needs to shout to get what he wants.
  • Make sure your child knows the rule and discuss what he should have done when he breaks a rule.
  • Give clear and calm instructions. Wait a few seconds to see if your child does as you asked.
  • Use back-up consequences if your child does not follow the instruction.
  • If an activity causes misbehaving, take the activity away for a short period of time.
  • If the misbehaviour is serious, use timeout. Put your child in another room that is uninteresting but still safe.  Make sure your child knows the rules and expectations of timeout.

Positive parenting is about encouraging and teaching good behaviour in children.  Through assertive discipline, your child develops self-control and a clear sense of right and wrong.  This will serve them throughout their lifetime.

Parents often need guidance in practicing assertive discipline.  Social workers of Free State Care in Action can provide parental guidance to parents.  This will empower parents to obtain parental skills that will benefit their children.  Contact Free State Care in Action at 051-4446143 to obtain the necessary information.