April Marks Child Abuse Prevention Month

Pinwheels decorate the grass in front of the Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune Russell Annex on Brewster Boulevard, April 10. Pinwheels serve as a symbol to focus on Child Abuse Prevention Month every April.

There is a universal truth with all parents regardless of where they may call home. Parents want what is best for their children. They want them to grow up to be good human beings who make a contribution to society in some way. The challenge remains that many parents know discipline will be necessary to end unwanted behavior but are unsure of how to discipline beyond what has been done to them.

As parents we have the challenge of being responsible for molding our child’s behavior. Our children need to know if they should continue what they are doing or not. That is one of the ways they learn. Unfortunately, we sometimes don’t really know what the best way to address the challenge and the learning opportunity is lost. Disciple is necessary. It is one of the ways we teach and guide our children. How we discipline is the key to a successful outcome.

Research has shown us that a more positive approach to discipline provides the optimum outcome of a well- adjusted adult. Here are 10 tips and tactics to help you be the best disciplinarian you can be!

1. Show respect and focus on the behavior, NOT the child. Be consistent with showing you value your child, just not their current behavior.

2. Be firm, fair and consistent with each and every child. Discipline with love. No means no, now, next week and next month.

3. Do not use physical punishment. Doing so only teaches children that violence and aggression is OK.

4. Fit the consequence to the behavior. For example, if the child writes on the wall then the punishment is to clean it off. (If age appropriate)

5. Act as soon as possible so your child associates misbehaviors with their consequences.

6. If you are too upset, cool down before you discipline. Be thoughtful, not emotional.

7. Keep in mind no one is perfect, and that we all make mistakes.

8. Decide which behaviors you must take a stand on and which ones you can be more flexible. It is important to remain consistent with which behaviors you will take a stand on.

9. Catch your child “being good.” Give praise often for your child’s positive actions and qualities. This will encourage your child to continue the behavior you want!

10. Take some time for yourself. Recharging is an important part of being able to provide positive discipline!

The domestic violence and child abuse hotline is availabe 24 hours a day at 910-376-5675.