If we yell at children, they will yell; if we hit them, they will hit; if we teach them how to fight--verbally or physically, they will imitate the same behavior. Or, the opposite may occur where--child or adult--you may become the perpetual victim of other's aggression. We get better results when we discipline children calmly.
Efforts should be made to teach socially how to communicate productively personal points of views such as:
- Be clear and consistent. Set and discuss rules and consequences. Rules should be clear, simple, and few. Some adults have only one basic rule: "You may not hurt yourself, others, or things". For example, to stop a child from hitting another child, kneel and calmly state, "You may not hit Tanisha. People are not for hitting." Then add, "I know you are angry. Can you tell me why? ... OK, how can we resolve such issues without harming another?
- Offer choices. Make sure choices are appropriate for your setting and are realistic. Can Donovan really be expected to do such and such?
- Ignore certain behaviors, like cursing or temper tantrum, if it is not harmful. A child will quickly learn that good behavior gets results and a favorable reaction from grown-ups.
No matter what we adults do, there are times when emotions arise. More formal aggressive acts may require time away from the other person, but should only be used for an immediate return to establish productive communication and mutual goals.