Punishing a 7-year-old child effectively can be really difficult to do. You don’t want to cripple the child but you also what to make them understand responsibility. So how do you do it?
I think the word “punishment” is not the best choice of word for this idea. I think “discipline” is a better choice because discipline is having the child take control of their circumstances. That is the ultimate goal.
1. Changing Punishing into Problem-Solving
Often there is a reason behind why kids act the way they do. We all are like that. Most children don’t act out because they are trying to make your life miserable.
If there is a problem, find a solution with them. When he or she is calmed down, ask your seven-year-old why they were doing what they were doing.
Most often they will be willing to tell you. Maybe they hate going to school because they have no friends or even going to bed is scary for them. Who knows?
You can find a solution. Asking them questions to get to the root of the problem. This shows your child that you care. Give your child your best effort and they will grow and learn.
Asking them the questions will make them analyze the situation and come with what the problem is in their mind. This puts the load on the child. It makes them disciplined in understanding their own thoughts.
Once you do, involve your child. Do not take over and have them sit on the sidelines with their Gatorade. This is as much (if not more) of their problem than it is yours. They need to have proactive involvement in their life from an earlier age.
Now, this works if the child is being raised in a safe and secure home. This is the ideal place to mature growth with discipline. This goes into some other topics I have for you today.
By the way, if you want to improve how you communicate with and understand your child, I can’t recommend this book from Amazon any more highly. It completely changed my thought process.
2. Authoritative > Authoritarian
You may be curious as to know what the difference is between these two. They look similar but have huge differences in the outcome of the children you are raising.
We will start with the lesser one: Authoritarian.
Authoritarian parenting style comes with high demand from the adult and low responsiveness given to the child. It’s all the effort without any love or nurturing. This style comes with high expectations but low care for anything the child feels.
Authoritarian is the root of evil parenting in my opinion. It is a parenting style where you dominate your children and squander their individuality. It’s where you don’t even allow your child to have a say or state their opinion.
Any sort of flaw will be flushed out of the child for fear that they will be punished, which they will. This allows no room for the child to overcome any trials because it doesn’t matter, they will be punished even for trying.
This kind of atmosphere won’t do for effective discipline with your child. If you want bright and happy kids, you won’t be this kind of parents.
There may be that small chance that one of your kids just thrives on disciple but most don’t and it chips away at their confidence every day.
Now let’s talk about the better one: Authoritative.
This one is similar to authoritarian in that it has high demands but different in that it’s highly responsive. This parenting style is really a two-way job. Both parties have to put in the effort.
Limits are still set and there are rules. It’s not anarchy in the slightest. It is organized and it works if both people put in the effort. This is the dream status for a parent-child relationship.
This really helps the safe and secure atmosphere. This style expects a lot and has rules and punishments. Along with this, the parent is responsive to the emotional needs of the child.
This helps your child to obtain things like emotional maturity and discipline. What a killer duo.
There are many benefits to this style. Children tend to become self-reliant, academically successful, and well-behaved. Who wouldn’t want a kid like this?
This is the warm and nurturing style of parenting that listen to the child. It is the kind of parenting that we should aspire to have.
3. Make the Child Responsible
If something goes wrong or there is a consequence because of your child’s actions let they take the blow. Let them fix the problem. Of course, be there to support but your child is in charge of the problem.
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised how many parents let their kids hide behind them and take responsibility that the child should have learned from.
Let me share an example from my life.
So I ran away from responsibility one time while at a church activity. I think it was during the fourth of July breakfast celebration thing. It has been many years so I can’t remember exactly, but I do remember the lesson.
You hear that parents? I don’t remember the situation completely but I do remember the lesson I was taught by my mom. Keep that in mind next time you discipline your kids.
Anyways, I remember that a bunch of kids and I were playing with a football. At some point, I threw the ball and it landed over the fence on the property that belonged to someone else. As a kid, a stranger’s property was the scariest thing in existence.
The football belonged to a friend. I played it off and somehow I didn’t end up going to get the ball. I thought I had avoided a scary encounter and I was counting my blessings.
Well before I left the kid’s dad found me and asked me where the ball was. I sheepishly said it was still over the other side of the fence. My mom was there and I looked over at her. She told me that I was responsible and I needed to get it. So I did.
The point of this story is that if you have a good relationship with your child, you can teach them discipline. Make they responsible for their actions. It made all of the difference in my life and I learned about being responsible for my actions.
My mom probably doesn’t remember that experience but I will never forget it.
4. Supply A Logical Consequence
Something my mom would do is if we weren’t respectful or appropriate with something we had, it was taken away from us. For example, if we were being mean with a water gun during the summer, the privilege of using it was taken away.
Do not discipline the child with nonsensical consequences. It will not be effective. A good way to make sure that it is logical is to have the punishment connected to the object or thing in the situation.
For example, computer privileges can be gone because of improper use of the computer. This could apply to a myriad of things. This is also a fantastic example of Authoritative parenting. That’s the good kind.
It’s best to provide punishment that the child understands that way they can learn from it.
I think logical consequences can really help your child be aware of what they are doing. That is something that some people lack. I have some personal application of this.
We owned a Nintendo GameCube when I was a
But anyways, We had a time limit and if we abused that time limit as a child, we had that privilege taken away from us. Needless to say, that happened to me a couple of times.
Even though I did not always follow the rule, I did learn about time management. Now that I am in college, I still enjoy playing a video game here and there but I also realize that I have to manage my time.
I also learned that some things are a greater use of time than others.
I learned these crucial time management skills that I probably would not have learned if my dear mom did not teach me to be disciplined with my mom. Bless my awesome mom.
5. Let Natural Consequence Be the Teacher
Sometimes you just need to let a natural consequence play out. Of course, if the consequence is dangerous then don’t let your child be harmed! If your child is walking towards a cliff, you won’t just let the consequence of gravity happen.
If it is small things like if they don’t go to sleep in a timely matter after being put to bed and they wake up tired, they might learn next time that they need to go to sleep earlier.
I’m not a parent but I only imagine the sweet justice and the ability to say I told you so (or to at least think it). Of course, you will be there to deal with it partially but the consequence rests on their shoulders.
I can think of times when I forgot a snack or lunch or something and the day just sucked. I never forgot a snack after that… at least for a little while after that.
Natural consequence allows the child to learn how to bounce back from failure or circumstances. If an overprotective parent stops the consequence from happening, the child will never learn to get back up after life slaps them in the face.
I’m going to let my buddy Rocky explain it to you:
Now that’s far more extreme than forgetting your lunch, but it applies and can help your child in the future when they are grown.
Our kids need to learn about natural consequence so they can bounce back from setbacks and mistakes.
6. Reward Good Behavior
Rewarding good behavior can reinforce that behavior and make it more likely that your child will do it again.
One way my mom did this was to have a token system. We used little washers and put them in M&M Mini bottles. It must have been effective if I remember the details so vividly.
We got a token for every chore that we did or for good things we did. It was a few tokens to watch a movie or play a video game for a half hour. In hindsight, I realize how smart my mom was.
She set up a system that didn’t allow us to play a video game or watch a movie every single day.
I think this can be an effective way to reward your 7-year-old. It may not work for every child.
I do struggle a little bit with the ways kids are rewarded. I think sometimes we reward without actually deserving reward. Let kids do things often without rewards. I recommend a rule of encouraging your kids and rewarding less.
7. Be A Parent Before Anything Else
Too many parents are trying to be friends first and let their kids walk all over them. Parents don’t want to become the uncool parent but that is the risk you take.
Yes, please be your child’s friend but be their parent first. Parents teach their kids what is right and what is wrong. If parents let their kids get away with everything, then there is no consequence.
I have already gone over why consequences are important. Read it again if you need to.
Over time, the rules and consequences internalize and they become what we think is right and wrong. If you do this correctly, your children will be that much better off.
I’m not saying you should enjoy time with your child. Please do that! You should have a fantastic relationship with your kids.
Along with having fun, there should be limits. Don’t be afraid to say no. Somethings should be off limits. Your child will thank you later because of it.
Also, make sure that you and your partner are on the same wavelength. Nothing is more confusing and destructive to discipline if both parents are not on the same page when it comes to rules and patterns.
Setting a good example is a huge part of being a parent first. If you do not want your kids cussing, then you should not be using expletives either.
If you want to teach your child about being friendly or giving, well guess what? You have to be the one to show them.
Sometimes your child just needs a good ole’ fashioned time-out. Even school ages kids could do well to have a little time-out. If your child struggles with intense emotions, this can be helpful to cool down.
Do not do it in excess. They shouldn’t be banished to their room all the time.
This will help them cool off. It gets them in less trouble when they are alone (potentially). My parents had to do that with one of my siblings often. I think it provides them some quiet time to think about their actions and get their emotions in check.
If your child gets emotionally charged, this may be really helpful for them. It allows them to be alone with themselves so they can’t get aggravated by anybody. I would consider trying this if that is something your child struggles with.
After the dust as settled, counsel with your child. Show them an increased amount of love. Teach them about ways you handle your emotions. Do some research on how to help them.
Here is a great article about children who throw tantrums. If you want to read about emotional development, read this.
How do I deal with a defiant 7-year-old? Well first off, don’t take it personally. Don’t let them have an edge over you. Be respectful of the child’s feelings and meet them half-way.
I think of your respect them, they will be completely thrown off. Think about why they are defiant. Maybe enjoy it a bit and use some humor. Help them ease themselves with humor possibly.
How do you discipline a child without hitting them? Let me explain this simply: if you want a good relationship with your child, never hit them or even threaten to. That’s a Authoritarian parenting and that’s not what we want in our world.
I know that sometimes you may feel like hitting them but instead of that, place your child in time-out. This will help you calm down and gather your thoughts. You can take away privileges. Allow consequences to happen naturally on their own for actions.
How do you handle a difficult child? Sometimes the temperament of your child can really affect how difficult they are. Teaching them techniques for calming oneself could be really helpful.
Do not take their behavior personally. You did not teach them that. Focus on the issues in the moment and counsel with them after the incident of how they can improve later.