Children between the age group of nine to 12 years also called the tweens, desire to be like the teenagers. In the process, they exhibit negative behaviors such as arguing, yelling, lying, bunking school, and secret outing with friends. At this stage, you cannot employ the discipline strategies that you used when they were little kids. In many parts of the world, tweens think it is a cool behavior to indulge in alcohol and smoking without the knowledge of the parents. Therefore, not disciplining the tweens can lead to dangerous consequences. Parents should employ age appropriate discipline strategy to prevent their children from committing serious mistakes and can impart life lessons.
Model the right behavior
Before you try to discipline the tweens, model the right behavior. Through this, they will learn more from what you do rather than the rules laid out by you. Children are consistently watching their parents, hence most of the life lessons they imbibe are from observing their parents. You have to exhibit discipline, patience and other values in your own life. Only then the tweens will follow the rules. Your tween will learn how to deal with a variety of life situations by observing how you respond to critical and distressing situations.
Make proper rules for chores such as study, activity time, dress code and extra privileges. Speak to them about your expectations and why do you want them to follow the rules. Tweens desire to spend more time on computer, social media, sports fields or friend’s house. Speak to them about how they should behave when they are outside. It is important to monitor their Internet activities through parental control settings. Lay out rules for screen-time, and strictly tell them not to chat with strangers online. Once in a week, discuss with them how they have fared with the rules and scope for improvement. Give them enough encouragement so that they follow the rules laid out by you.
Take away privileges
We often bestow our tweens with special privileges such as smartphones, laptops, expensive toys, and many more. Incase they refuse to abide by any rule, you can take away one special privilege. However keep the punishment only to 24 to 48 hours. Too much of punishment may lead to other repercussions such as it may make the tween stubborn or adamant. Taking away a special privilege will make them realise that as a parent you are using your authority to correct them.
Ignore mild misbehavior
Certain mild behaviors such as trying to argue with you that rules are not fair, constantly complaining, showing irritation, or even mild temper tantrums can be ignored. If your tween is not able to engage you in an argument, or finds that you are not interested in negotiating, he/she will eventually give up. Furthermore, when you don’t give in to their misbehavior, tweens will understand the value of discipline in life, which they will carry forward.
Provide logical reasons
Communicate to your child, the reason behind laying out the rules. Why is a particular rule laid out? If he/she follows it how will they improve and how will it help them in future. Tell them why they cannot be like the teenagers yet. Also, give them proper reasons for taking off a certain privilege. If you take away a tween’s bicycle because he did not get out of bed on time, explain why you did so. Provide a logical reason that connects the punishment to the misbehavior.
Indulge them in extracurricular actitivities
The best way to channelise a kid’s energy is by involving them in extracurricular or sports activities. When they are engrossed in a particular activity, they develop positive outlook towards life. They develop self-confidence and also learn team work. They can easily learn many of the life lessons that you want to impart to them through extracurricular and sports activities.