All parents are aware that it is both a right and duty to discipline their kids. However, most of parents are in dilemma regarding the exact age at which this process of disciplining the child must start. An old Sanskrit sloka said that for the first 5 years of his/her life, pamper the child. For the next 10 years, keep a strong hold over the child; be strict and stringent. As soon as your child attains the age of 16, he or she should be treated as a friend or equal.
For several years, Indian parents have followed this as a thumb rule to discipline their kids. Now let see if modern behavioural scientists and child psychologists validate this dogma.
At What Age Should Disciple Start?
There is NO Age For Discipline: The first dictum of modern parenting techniques denies the old theories. A child has to be disciplined even as a newborn baby. Babies these days are more evolved than we were. By the time babies are 6 months old, they understand enough to know how to get what they want.
Start Early: As mentioned above, you need to discipline the kid even before he or she is an year old. By the time the child is 6-8 months old, they already know how to manipulate you. They know that one wail from them will push your panic button. So, you need to let the child know that you will not get manipulated.
Too Young To Punish: Most parents have this issue when they want to hand out punishment to the child. They feel that the child is too young to punish sometimes. But here is the catch, you need not punish the kid to discipline him or her. Punishment to a child who is 2 years old is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. What you have to establish is a sense of 'right' and 'wrong' in the mind of the child.
Use As Little Force As Possible: We were all spanked as kids and think that it is a reasonable way to discipline the kid. Actually, it is not as simple as that. A light spanking may not do your kid any harm but in the long run, it will not do any good either. The child gets used to punishment that is merely physical. So try to deal with the child cognitively instead of physically.
Distinguish Between Needs & Wants: Most parents fail to make this crucial distinction. 'Setting limits is a crucial part of your responsibility' according to Claire Lerner, LCSW, Director of parenting resources at Zero to Three, in Washington. Your child want to sleep in your lap at the age of 3 but he or she doesn't really have to. So, you need to decide which one of your child's whims is a 'necessity' and which is just a 'desire'.
So the age of your kid is not such a big issue as far as discipline is concerned. But, you have change your parenting techniques for kids of different age groups to discipline them effectively.