Children can be a great blessing. You want to show love and affection for your little ones — it is even required for healthy development and lifestyle. This, however, does not diminish the need for correction when the child misbehaves.
As your children approach the age of eight years old, they will begin to develop a greater sense of morality and a perception of how sociality works. They are not the same as they were when they were toddlers or even a year younger, which means that the punishment regime used previously will not entirely apply here. Some tactics may still be enforced, but with the increase of age and mental development in your child also come a different way of approaching how to deal out punishments for inappropriate behavior.
8-Year Old Development
Children of this age are beginning to seek more independence. They will begin to practice decision-making, thinking skills, and problem-solving. Their attention span is increasing, allowing them to focus on more detailed tasks and carry out more complex instructions successfully. One of the largest changes in 8-year-old development is growth in their ability to differentiate between right and wrong.
Eight-year-olds are able to recognize their abilities increasing, and will seek opportunities to show that they are older and can be trusted with important things. They are still learning what is expected and acceptable behavior, however, and it is important to use patience when offering corrections or teaching new concepts.
1. Give Warnings
When your eight-year-old acts out of line, it may seem natural to punish them instinctively. It is possible, however, that you are denying them to learn why their action was wrong. Their rationality between right and wrong develops, so they will not always understand exactly what you expect of them. You don’t want them to constantly fear breaking a rule they do not know exists!
If you want them to cease what they are doing, then you will first need to tell them that what they are doing is in fact inappropriate and ask them kindly to stop. If they continue, then strictly inform them of what will happen if they do not stop.
2. Logical Consequences
Make the punishments you give have relevance to the behavior you are trying to correct. For instance, if your child watches more television than what you allowed him or her to watch, the most sensible thing to do would be to restrict their watch time even further for a brief period of time like a week or so.
Punishing them in the form of exclusion such as not allowing them to have ice cream after dinner will only lead them to get angry and maybe try to sneak in some extra watch time without you noticing. Again, make the punishment relevant so they correlate the desired behavior with the correction.
3. Natural Consequences
Sometimes the consequences of the behaviors of your child come in a way that does not require you to lift a finger to enforce.
For instance, if your child refuses to take an umbrella or a rain jacket with them on the way to school during a day when the forecast calls for rain, you can issue a warning to let them know of what will happen and then let them go as they are if they resist. Forcing the jacket onto them or the umbrella into their hand will not solve the problem. When they come home drenched and wishing that they had listened to you, they will be sure not to make the same mistake.
If the situation you want them to avoid is dangerous, then you will need to enforce a logical consequence. For instance, if your child finds a lighter and almost sets something on fire, simply take the lighter away and make sure they do not have a way to find it.
4. Time Out
This punishment is probably the most commonly utilized. At least, I know that I have been on the receiving end a time or two myself. Essentially, when your child acts inappropriately, sternly tell them to go to his or her room.
When the dust is settled and both you and your child have reached a level of calm that allows the brain to use rationale, you can discuss with them what happened and make plans accordingly. Children of this age usually act out when tired or angry, so giving them the space they need is important.
Have your child learn some personal responsibility by having them do a chore or two around the house. Instruct them on what to do, how to do it, and make sure they stay on task. They may not provide the results that you would provide if you were doing the chore, but they will still gain a sense of what it means to be more responsible.
6. Behavior Chart
To show your child just how well or poorly they are behaving, you can create a sort of chart that displays visually how they are doing. For instance, you could attach a dry erase board to the fridge and fill up a bar that resembles the good behaviors of your child. For every good thing that your child does, praise them verbally and then fill up the chart.
When they misbehave, erase some of the charts. Provide them with a reward if they fill up the chart with their good behavior and follow up on that promise. There are many ways you could go about doing this. If you would like to collect more ideas on what kind of chart you want to make, try looking on Pinterest or asking friends.
7. Removal of Certain Privileges
I am familiar with this one, as well. If your child misbehaves in a way that you find intolerable, you can remove from them certain privileges such as their favorite video game or being able to hang out with friends on the weekend. This should be enforced in small doses and not removed entirely. Maybe just remove these things for a weekend for each offense.
8. Discuss the Situation
One method of helping 8-year-old children is to help them understand the difference between right and wrong. Discuss with your child a variety of ways they could have handled the situation differently. Ask them about what consequences would have followed for them, objects, you, and other involved parties. Explain how different choices would have resulted in a more ideal situation. Help them learn how to act in a better way for future instances.