I picked that image above for this post because I think it sums up a lot of this whole parenting gig. Parenting is never done. I'm always going to be my kid's mom, no matter how old she is, no matter if she becomes a mom herself. It is a constant, continually evolving thing, this role of parenting. My job as a mom, my kiddo, me -- we are all works in progress, right?
From the get-go, discipline is in the front of the Parenting To Do Line. How one does this is a whole other story, one that may change as you get to know your kiddo and that kiddo grows up (and you become, hopefully, more adept at this discipline thing). But it isn't easy.
I agree with Joanie about discipline... I don't reward good behavior, I really try to avoid offering bribes for it. Instead, I tell her I appreciate her good attitude or that added-on "please" and "thank you" when she does it, especially without my reminding her to do it. But, let's face it, I do remind her. My trick: I talk about good behavior, about what is expected, or why one behavioral choice is better than another at a different time, not while in the middle of a situation.
It's a bit advice I got early -- set behavior expectations for your kids beforehand. Kids are still entering into new, never-done-before-and-didn't-know-they-existed situations. They need our help with these new encounters...and, sure, with ones they've been in a gazillion times too. Before heading out to a restaurant or to a birthday party or to the airport, I'll matter-of-factly tell Kiddo, "Hey, while we are out and about today, I expect you to have good behavior, remember to say thank you, to look at folks in the eye, (insert whatever behavior is expected)." That way, in the moment, it isn't a surprise for her. If she gets a bit off the "behavioral step," it's easy for me to say, "Hey, babe, remember what behavior we talked about."
It is tricky, super tricky...though, what in parenting isn't?
How do you encourage good behavior?