Most parents spend a significant amount of time driving their children to school, play-dates and appointments each week. Although in an ideal world children would cooperate during car journeys long and short, the reality is that many children still misbehave. However, it is a challenge to discipline children while in the car without jeopardizing the safety of yourself and your entire family. The next time you are in the car with your children, use these four helpful tips to discipline them safely.
1. Pull Over When Necessary: If simple commands and requests go unnoticed by your children, avoid trying to do much more while driving. Not only will pulling over mean you are safer, but your children will quickly realize that the discipline is serious enough to warrant the stop. Even pulling over onto the shoulder of a highway is safer than yelling while driving. If possible, exit and park somewhere safe so you can focus entirely on your children rather than traffic or other cars.
2. No Empty Threats: A common trick that parents use when disciplining their children in the car is to threaten to turn around and go home. However, if the fighting or crying continues and you don’t turn around, it will reveal that you are weak and simply dishing out empty threats. Instead, only threaten to turn around and go home if that is possible to do. For example, if you happen to be driving your children to a nearby park and they won’t stop fighting, it is completely reasonable to turn around and head home. Once you are back at the house and parked safely, you can punish them as necessary or just explain that their bad behavior resulted in missing out on a fun trip to the park.
3. Add Chores to the List: If you are sick and tired of hearing complaints and fights while you drive, set up a system where after one warning, each infraction results in a new chore at home. After complaints, simply add another to the list. When you get home, enforce it right away to make it clear that difficulties brought up while driving will not be forgotten. This allows you to focus on driving and safety while still having children understand that there are clear limits as well as punishments for their actions in the car.
4. Keep Calm: Even when it can be tempting to simply yell at your children when you are overwhelmed with frustration, that is both dangerous and a negative model for children. Rather than yelling, keep calm. Unless violence escalates in the backseat, ignore the situation until you can calmly pull over, turn around or feel confident enough that you can discipline with calm words rather than by yelling loudly.
Remember these tips next time you set off on a car journey with your children. You might want to start by leaving a few minutes early so you are not late for appointments if you need to pull over while driving there.
Guest writer Marcie McDonald is an insurance consultant who writes for cheapestcarinsurance.org.uk. She recommends getting a comparison online for very cheap car insurance and also to see if you qualify for the best car insurance providers before making your choice..