The chances are high that your five-year-old boy is maturing in many social and emotional ways. He shares his toys without tears and he follows directions better than he did a couple of years ago. However, it's also likely that a temper tantrum rears its head from time to time and his arguing skills rival the best lawyers in the country. Maintain your own sanity by sticking to the fundamentals of discipline.
Your five-year-old tests his limits to learn which behaviors are acceptable in various situations. Remember that the ultimate goal of discipline is not to punish your child or make him feel bad. Canada's Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System reminds parents discipline is an opportunity to teach your son right from wrong and the ultimate goal is helping your child make good decisions. Throwing out consequences at every turn will only teach him what not to do instead of teaching him acceptable behaviors. When disciplining your son, always clearly explain what the inappropriate behavior was and follow this with an explanation of the acceptable behavior. Ask your son to come up with better ways to handle the situation.
Consistency is Key
When your child was a toddler, you often reminded him about the rules by consistently pulling him away from dangerous areas or taking away items he shouldn't play with. Now that he's five, the scenarios have changed but the general disciplinary rules should not. If you punish a behavior one time, but ignore it at other times, your child is receiving mixed messages. Be consistent in monitoring behavior by establishing firm expectations and rules and sticking to them. Both parents should get on the same page to avoid confusion, ambiguity and misbehavior.
Use Logical Consequences
When you use discipline to teach correct behaviors, it makes sense that the punishment always fits the crime. Parents.com reminds parents that consequences are most effective when they are closely tied to the misbehavior and are solutions to the problems the misbehavior has led to. If he kicked his sibling because he didn't want to play with him, make him apologize and have him practice other ways to say he wants to be alone. Fair consequences teach appropriate behaviors, while doling out spankings or time-outs for every offense will only breed anger, contempt and resentment by your child.
Emphasize the Positive
Pro-active discipline means setting your son up for success whenever possible. When you praise your son for appropriate behaviors, you'll likely see more of the same. Your child's self-esteem and confidence will soar when you continually recognize his good behavior and wise choices. The Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System recommends recognizing and praising good behavior five times for every one time you nag your boy. Tell your child how proud you are when he helps you do housework, spend extra time playing with him when you catch him being kind to others or tell him he's growing into a fine, young man when he has a good day at school, for example. Give hugs and high-fives often to continually encourage good behavior.