“Spare the rod and spoil the child – that is true. But, beside the rod, keep an apple to give him when he has done well.” Martin Luther
Oh, this is a tough subject. So much so, I nearly left it out of the book. However, as much as we adore our grandchildren they are going to be naughty. It’s just what kids do, and we need to accept.
You may never have to discipline your grandchildren much at all. Thankfully children are usually better behaved for you than they are for their parents. However, there will be times when they are super tired, frustrated and even angry. These are all normal human emotions which children need to learn how to manage as they grow.
Help them understand why their behavior is wrong, not them
I love the way children are encouraged to explore their emotions today. We were never allowed to do this. If we got angry and lashed out we were punished with a smack or we were yelled out; sometimes both. My mother’s favorite saying is still, “Children should be seen and not heard.” Heaven forbid we kids should be listened to or explore our emotions.
An example of anger
Recently, my grandson mirrored the words which had been used by his parents when he had been behaving badly. After his request for fast food had been denied on the basis his mother was taking him home for a nutritional meal, he crossed his arms across his chest and declared, “I am very unhappy with your behavior, Mummy. It has made me feel very cross!”
Children are encourage to feel and identify the emotion that they are feeling immediately. They are then taught how to openly and honestly express their feelings without blaming anyone else. For example, it’s okay to feel angry or disappointed.
It is not okay to hit out or break something to express those feelings.
Appeal to the child’s sense of justice
Children have an innate sense of justice. It seems to grow stronger with every new tooth! More often than not, the first words children learn to run together in a sentence are, “It’s not fair!” You can try to cajole a child into behaving well or doing the right thing, but in the end if they feel that they are not being heard or treated justly I’m sure they’ll let you know it.