Discipline: mirror image

As a parent, you try to set a good example for your children, but that’s often easier said than done.  You may not even be cognizant of your “bad habits” until your 7-year-old mirrors your undesirable behavior.  So the question is, how do you discipline your child when she saw Mommy or Daddy do it first?

Dr. Pete Stavinoha, a child psychologist at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, says parents should stop behavior first, and “own up to your mistake” second.  Let your child know that “it was wrong when you did it, and it was wrong when they did it,” he counsels.  Let the first time be a warning, but if the behavior continues, discipline your child in the usual manner, he adds.

Most importantly, Stavinoha says parents should “monitor their [own] behavior” – not only stopping the bad behavior, but consciously setting a positive example for your child to follow on a consistent basis.  “Set the bar high,” he shares, so you can be able to say, “do as I say, and as I do.”

Reprinted by permission from Dallas Child magazine.


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