Disciplining your 8-year-old boy should centre around the rules you want to teach him to help him succeed. Encouragement and praise need to be the first choices when it comes to discipline, with punishment used only as a last resort. Positive parenting helps your son see what he is capable of accomplishing, while punishment tends to do the opposite and can cause some children to feel badly about themselves. At age 8, boys are still learning to find a niche with their friends, on sports teams and in school. They may continue to test the limits.
Praise your child when he accomplishes something. Avoid materialistic rewards or use them when introducing a new rule or concept to assist your son to stay on track. As the new rule becomes habit, ease away from the reward. Examples of positive rewards include an extra bedtime story or choosing a favourite meal for dinner one night during the week.
Set up a chore chart for your son. Examples of chores include feeding the dog, taking out the trash, making his bed, picking up his toys and setting the table. Take care not to overload your son in the beginning. The goal is to give him a sense of accomplishment. This will enable him to continue these habits as he grows. Start with one or two chores a day and add additional chores according to ability. Use a marker or sticker to show completion and give your son a small weekly allowance.
Ignore what you can. Boys often go through stages of trying out inappropriate language to see if they can get a reaction from those around them. Inappropriate language that is directed at another person should be addressed immediately and the appropriate consequence given.
Encourage your son to think about solutions to problems before deciding how to solve them. Assist your son in challenges he is facing and give him space to work it out. Encourage him to finish his work before play and to practice patience with his peers by allowing his playmates to have the first turn. This helps set the stage for future success.
Make your household rules and stick with them. Bedtime is always bedtime except on special occasions. One hour of television on a school night remains in stone unless there's a special on. This allows your son to feel secure. The rules become his guidelines to live by. They encourage him to work hard and accomplish goals so he can earn the special reward of staying up late because his favourite aunt is coming to dinner.
Have a consequence for each rule in your house so your son knows what to expect. Avoid having too many rules as your son may tune you out. Natural consequences work best as they are not imposed by you. Timeouts, removal of privileges or grounding can be used as needed.
Give you and your son time to adjust to your new discipline methods. No one can change overnight. Know your son's limits. It may be helpful to change one thing at a time.
Some children will test the limits when you make a change. Behaviour may get worse before it gets better. Be patient and don't give up. Remember, this is a test.