Discipline IQ Test

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs out there and there are a lot of different styles. 

Katie Englert, Owner and Counselor at Compass Counseling talks with couples every day about parenting challenges. She said every kid may be different, but parents face similar scenarios. For example, parents teach kids to play nice with others, but that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes kids fight over toys and sometimes they hit each other. 

Englert said it’s important to teach kids boundaries. “Teach her to communicate her wants and needs to the other kids appropriately,” she said. “Sometimes we can’t always have what we want at the exact time we want it. Empathize with her too, but make sure she understands the importance of respecting other people’s boundaries and not hurting them. Make her return the item and apologize.”

Interrupting is also about boundaries. For kids who interrupt, Englert said parents need to teach them the difference between an emergency and attention. “Your needs are not emergent, you’re going to have to wait a second would be the best route to take.”

When wanting to take a child from one location to another, Englert said it’s best for parents to set the expectations ahead of time. Them, when it’s time to leave, tell the child, don’t ask. 
“The difference between telling a child to do something and asking them to do something is that you’re giving them an option with the second choice,” said Englert. “There’s not an option whether you’re staying or leaving. It is time to go, so put your shoes on. We’re leaving. That takes away a choice you’re not comfortable with their response to potentially. I think I would also, with a young child, give them a warning of we’re leaving in 5 minutes so they can kind of learn to end this task and move to something else.”

Expectations are important, too, when parents take their kids into stores, especially stores with toys. 

“Set up the expectations of the shopping trip prior to getting into the store,” she said. “Let the child know we’re going for a friend. We’re not going for us today. Sometimes they push anyway. Depending on your personality, if you feel the need to keep explaining that would be an option.”

Bedtime can be an especially frustrating time of day, especially if a child won’t stay in bed after he or she is tucked in. 

“The key is consistency,” said Englert. “If it’s okay with him and with you that he continues to sleep in your bed, then that would be not a big deal. If the goal is to get him to sleep in his bed, it’s going to be to return him to his bed every single time until it sticks.”

There’s no such thing as a perfect parent so Englert said her best advice is for parents to simplify the number of rules and to cut themselves some slack. 

“Parents are just tired and so sometimes when you are tired you don’t react like you’re intending to react or what the goal is,” she said. “The goal at the end of the day is raise a child that is loving and is a productive adult. That’s what you want to keep in mind when parenting your children and that’s tough.”

Did you take our Discipline IQ Test? Here’s how parents answered the questions.

1) You’ve been at the playground all afternoon with your preschooler and now it’s time to leave. He is building sand castles and not budging. What do you do?

a-      Tell him it’s time to put his shoes on because you’re leaving. (63.5%)

b-      Ask him nicely to please put his shoes on and head to the car. (31.3%)

c-       Threaten him to get in the car or else you’re leaving alone. (5.1%)

2) You’re talking with other parents at the playground when your child starts fighting with another kid over a toy. Your child hits the other. How do you react?

a-      Tell her “Don’t hit,” and take away the toy.  (36.7%)

b-      Tell her to say she’s sorry. (36.1%)

c-       Remove her from the situation immediately. (27.2%)

3) As you talk with your friend, your child interrupts to ask you where his crayons are. He asks over and over and over. How do you handle it?

a-      Listen to his question the first time.  If he can wait for an answer, ask him to be patient. (26.4%)

b-      Allow the interruptions because he says, ”Excuse me,” every time. (8.2%)

c-       Tell him to wait until you’re done talking. (65.4%)

4) You head to the store to buy a gift for a friend’s child. Your child begs for a toy, too. You say no, it’s too expensive to buy two toys , but she starts to whine. You can tell a tantrum is second away. What do you do?

a-      Say no and then refuse to talk about it anymore. (51.8%)

b-      Explain why she doesn’t need the toy and continue to explain it over and over and over again until she understands. (30.5%)

c-       Don’t buy the specific toy she asked for, but compromise and get her something small from the checkout line. (17.7%)

5) Your child is great about his bed-time routine. He always gets in his PJs, brushes his teeth and listens to a story before saying good night. But he always comes in your room after you tuck him in. How do you handle it?

a-      Send him back to bed with a consequence: If he gets out of bed again, no playing with his favorite train the next day. (43.4%)

b-      Get up and return him to bed. Every. Time. (38.3%)

c-       Make him a bed on the side of your bed. You both need sleep. (18.3%)

A note from Elizabeth: This was my first time taking on a story that encompassed an entire day of newscasts. For those of you who participated, thank you for taking the time. I also want to thank Katie Englert with Compass Counseling for pointing me in the right direction and the women who make up MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) at Lone Oak First Baptist. I’m so impressed by what you do! 

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