You know that you are a good parent, and you care about what happens to your children. A large part of parenting is managing your children’s behavior through some form of discipline. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about disciplining children, and the wrong approach or a miscommunication could lead to the involvement of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Many parents have very specific ideas about acceptable forms of discipline, many of them coming from the ways they were raised. But children respond to discipline differently, so what works for one child may not work for another. The good news is that there is help available if what you are doing isn’t working, you are unsure what to do next or DCF does become involved in your life.
Different Types of Child Discipline
The point of discipline is to have a child take responsibility for their actions and learn about consequences. This starts at home by teaching children about rules and the importance of following them. What worked for your parents may not work for you and remember there was no social media when most of today’s parents were children. Also, there were far fewer distractions in past generations.
Determining what type of discipline is right for you and your child will depend on your views on the subject, your temperament and your child’s maturity level. The age of your child and their surroundings will also influence how to best discipline them.
Here are several types of discipline methods you can use:
- Positive Discipline
This type of discipline is based on encouragement and praise to teach children the right way to behave.
With gentle discipline, the focus is problem prevention, where the parent will redirect the child away from misbehavior.
- Behavior Modification
With behavior modification, the focus is positive and negative consequences. Good behavior is rewarded, and poor behavior receives negative consequences like a time-out.
- Setting Boundaries
With boundary-based discipline, the parent sets clear limits and outlines the consequences for crossing boundaries, such as a loss of privileges.
- Emotion Coaching
With this type of discipline, the parent focuses on helping a child better understand their feelings. When children can identify and name their feelings, they can develop more appropriate ways to deal with them.
How to Get the Help You Need With Child Discipline
Day-to-day life with children can be radically different than the fanciful depiction of parenthood in the movies. According to experts, kids require consistent and firm limits for their emotional well-being. Failure to establish these limits can lead to frustration and greater trouble down the road. If you’re doing the same thing over and over and it’s just not working, it may be doing more harm than good.
But what if you aren’t sure where to start? The best thing you can do is ask for help. There are thousands of websites and books devoted to raising children and discipline. Beyond these resources, you can sign up for a parenting class to get some personalized tips. If your child has been getting into trouble outside the home, you may also wish to investigate counseling for them or for your entire family.
What Happens When DCF Gets Involved
Parents in Connecticut have the right to reasonably discipline their children. But DCF and law enforcement may get involved if discipline crosses the line to abuse or neglect. Evidence of abuse can include things like bruises, scratches, injuries, and excessive physical punishment. Neglect involves the failure to provide adequate supervision, food, medical care, clothing, and education to a child.
Connecticut DCF recommends that parents avoid using physical means to discipline children. When DCF gets involved, they will look at the age-appropriateness of the discipline as well as the child’s size and ability to understand the punishment. Whether you intend to physically or emotionally harm your child or not, there is potential for DCF to step in and file a neglect petition.
If a neglect petition is filed, DCF must prove its case, but your parental rights are at stake. You need an experienced Connecticut DCF attorney who can quickly and appropriately respond to the petition and safeguard your and your child’s interests.
Speak With a Qualified Connecticut DCF Attorney
Child discipline can be challenging and controversial. Whatever method you choose, we would advise you to make it age-appropriate and consider the state’s law so that you can avoid involvement with DCF.
If the police or DCF do become involved in your life, it’s important to understand that you still have rights as a parent and citizen. At The Christie Law Firm, our attorney focuses on defending parents who have been accused of child neglect or abuse by the Connecticut DCF. Please contact our office at (860) 461-7494 to reach out to us online to schedule an initial consultation to speak with our experienced DCF Attorney.