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Disciplining For Single Mothers

Updated on August 28, 2016
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CC by Flickr | Source

Our subjective nature prevents us from fair consistent discipline of our children. The job is doubly difficult for single mothers, who often feel overwhelmed when it comes to disciplining their children. Wearing many hats they juggle work, home, finances, recreational events and much more, which often means the consistence needed for disciplining their child breaks down.

A Good Spanking

Single mothers out of frustration and impatience tend to use corporal punishment to discipline their children. It is a quick fix for disruptive behavior. But, experts frown on this approach and asserts that children often experience internal suffering which usually manifest in nervousness or depression. They add, physically children might also experience some disruption of internal organs from excessive physical discipline. Of course the supporters of the old school concept “spear the rod spoil the child” might dispute these observations. A good spanking, they declare never hurts anyone, in fact it benefits the child.

A Better Way

Correcting your child’s behavior takes know how and patience. It is not as easy or difficult as giving your child a spanking. Experts say that the best form of discipline is the reward system. This system when applied correctly reduces bad behavior. Rewarding good behavior, as per the experts, deters negative ones. Hence, giving your child the right amount of attention at the right time will result in a well behaved child. Unfortunately, having the right timing and finding the right response can be a challenge to many mothers. To start, the system should consist of open show of affection, undivided attention, material items and special events as well as trips. Use of these rewards immediately following your child’s behavior, experts are convinced, will establish a pattern of good conduct. They then qualified their conviction by declaring that there are times when incentives are delayed, so will the sought after behavior. This is particularly true for toddlers and preschoolers. Experts clarify, it is all about associating the conduct with the reward and when consistently applied children learn what reaction or reward is connected to their actions. Conversely, this is true for bad behavior, if a child can only get the rewards he seeks through misconduct he will associate misconduct with his desired results. As you try to utilize this system, note that it works best served with reminder words and explanations. As you distribute the incentive, explain to your child why he is receiving it; this will help him understand what you consider acceptable. In the end, experts declare, the positive feedback of the reward system helps build a child’s confidence and self-worth. This type of feedback also helps nurture happier children and when you child is happy you are happy.

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CC by Flickr | Source

Making It Work

Making the optimal use of the reward system requires strategic application. Experts feel coupling rewards will accomplish this feat. They stress rewarding your children with things they truly want will heighten their desire to continue on with positive and productive behavior. Positive affirmation goes a long way inasmuch as hearing how pleased you are with them creates a feeling of euphoria. This emotion of contentment can only improve a family’s relationship. Experts expand that variety works wonders. Since children never know what to expect they will most likely be motivated to always do well. To be effective, awards should be age appropriate. If more than one sibling reside in the home, keep in mind that individuality might negate certain incentives for one child but have the opposite result for another. It might be helpful with more than one sibling to set up a system chart and allow each child to participate in the reward decision process.

A Delayed Response

Often your child’s strong personality and determination will delay the positive outcome. The secret to the rewards system is patience and commitment. Apply the system as frequently as possible, never force the progress and sit back and wait, given time your child will respond. The good behavior will materialize and the bad conduct will dissipate. As you wait for change, to help cement the desired behavior, consider making some adjustments in your relationship with your child. Sometimes as single mothers we tend to expect too much from our children, after all we are wearing many hats, why can’t our children. Consequently, examine your demands by asking, is this a reasonable expectation for a child? Can your child do what you wish him to do? A two year old should not be expected to wash his own clothes. Consider too if you child truly understands what is expected. For toddlers the expectation should be very basic and as he matures your communications should evolve. Finally, make sure the rewards are of interest to your child. A car as a reward for a 5 year old will never work. However if you were to produce Lego that is sure to get some reaction.

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cc by Flickr | Source


The end result of the reward system is your child’s realization that there are consequences for his behavior. Rewarding your child is a positive consequence to a type of behavior and your child quickly learns the significance of the fallout. He can also quickly learn what behaviors are unacceptable when negative consequences are put in place. When you discipline your child to correct his misbehavior he eventually associates negative consequences with your displeasure. Experts suggest the best consequences are the “time out” method for younger children and the withholding method for older children.

The First Step

So that time out will not be a culture shock for your child, experts suggest that parents explain the negative consequences before enforcing them. When your child is doing the undesirable, immediately explain to him that he will be placed in “time out”. He will be removed from contact with family members and will be placed in an isolated area. Your child will soon realize that this type of punishment means no play time. No child likes to hear this so the tears will flow. Stoically ignore the tears and place your child in the designated area. As you engage in this time of consequences, experts stressed that it should only be used when redirection does not work. Placing your child in time out is also a great cooling out period for both of you. As a single mother it is often too easy to take your frustration out on your child and this can manifest verbally or physically. Therefore, removing your child from the situation is in a way removing yourself as well. When your child moves away from the hostile environment, you can slow down the disciplinary process and hence eventually take productive actions.

Sit This Out

As you punish your child and during the waiting period, consider these important actions. When you notice the onset of an undesirable behavior warn your child to stop and remind him about the time out process. It’s important to build your child’s reasoning abilities by explaining why the behavior is unacceptable. Do not go on and on just 1 or 2 brief explanations. If you child continues the misbehavior isolate him. Make the time out everything you said it will be, no one is to talk to your child, he is placed in an area away from family members and most importantly do not allow any play. The initial use of time out will require repeated placing of your child in the isolated area. Be patient once this routine of punishment is reinforced its administration gets easier. The period should be age appropriate, toddlers should be isolated for about 3 to 4 minutes anything else is pushing it, older children 10 to 30 minutes. The idea is to isolate your child so he knows that he is missing out on fun time. As you remove your child from seclusion remind him of that particular behavior expectation. After your child is allowed back into a regular setting, observe his actions and immediately reward his good behavior. This will help him understand what is acceptable and what is not.

Experts also suggest that withholding items and certain privileges is just as effective for a teenager as placing a child in time out. The process works the same and therefore consequently gains the attention of the child and helps him understand how important it is not to engage in a particular behavior. Whatever you discipline approach, understand and respect the individuality of your child and act accordingly.

What type of discipline works best for your child?

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    • Flipsgeraldine profile image

      Yvette Marshall 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      That sounds like a great show...I appreciate the details.

    • chuckandus6 profile image

      Nichol marie 3 years ago from The Country-Side

      The super nanny does a warning first. And if they continue misbehaving they go to time out for minutes equal to the number of years old they are.If they get out of time out she sends them back to seat without communicating with them in any way.once they did their time out she asks for an apology. She also does a reward chart to build up to and the reward markers get removed when the misbehave.

    • Flipsgeraldine profile image

      Yvette Marshall 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have never seen that show, kindly share details about the method.

    • chuckandus6 profile image

      Nichol marie 3 years ago from The Country-Side

      I really like the method the super nanny uses