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10 Ways to Discipline Your Child

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I was with a good friend this past weekend. She’s the mother of a beautiful three-year-old boy. I asked her how she liked motherhood. She said she loved it, but was in the middle of learning how difficult it is when you put a strong-willed mom together with a strong-willed little boy for long periods of time. One of the biggest challenges to parenting well is how you discipline your child.

The most important component to discipline is to be consistent. After that, there are many different strategies at your disposal. We have listed 10 here that will help you next time your child is in need of correcting.

1. The Do-Over

Everybody deserves a second chance, right? If your child has shown a lack of respect in some way, give them the option of a “do-over.” Send them out of the room, and have them start all over again. In most cases, the second time around will be much more appropriate.

2. Zip it

Children have a knack for saying all types of off-the-wall things. Sometimes they go too far, and feelings might get hurt. Sometimes, it’s just a lot of noise. Speaking can cause a variety of troubles that requires discipline. Losing the privilege to talk for a specific time is a great tool to curb these situations. Have them zip those lips and learn how to be respectful towards others.

3. Let it go

Every single issue does not need to be a battle. If you are constantly at odds with your child, resentment can breed, and ears can eventually tune out. Sometimes, it’s best to let your child “win.” For example, your child might not dress for school exactly how you would like. They are within a standard of decency, but not quite your taste. Yet, they are making excellent grades. If your suggestions on how they look are met with resistance, it may be OK to let it go. Your child will appreciate having some authority over their own life and learn how to give and take. Pick your battles.

4. Take a breather

Every parent’s best friend is the “breather.” If your child screams at you, screaming back will only worsen the matter. Send him to his room and create a cooling off period. Just make sure he doesn’t take his iPod or cell phone! Then approach him when he has calmed down and talk through the matter.

5. Use the rod rarely

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.” We all know this ancient wisdom, but it must be used with caution. Studies have shown that using violence, even in a mild form, only creates fear and may do nothing to better a child. It can be tough at times but always keep your composure. If need be, walk away. Using your mind and not always your hands might be the best way to discipline.

6. Natural Consequences

Your child has known a project was due for 2 weeks. It is the night before, and she is in a panic. You warned her a week ago not to wait until the last moment, but it happened anyway. She is now pleading for you to assist her. Do not help her. Let her experience the result of her actions. It will be embarrassing for her the next day at school when her project pales in comparison to others. Maybe it will mean a bad grade. This will teach her far more than you having done the work for her. You can say to yourself, “I told you so.” Just don’t say it out loud.

7. Compromise

Try a little compromise instead of always verbally forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. When “Son, it’s time to brush your teeth” is met with an escape down the hall, grab his favorite toy and say, “Mr. Rex is coming with you, so he can brush his teeth too!” Suddenly it has become fun, and your son is happily brushing his teeth with Mr. Rex by his side. Compromise and improvise when appropriate.

8. The Take Away

Every child has something near and dear to them. Favorite stuffed animals, cell phones, gaming devices, etc. can all be used to your benefit. If your warnings have fallen on deaf ears, take an item away for a stated time and let your child once again learn that actions have consequences.

9. Grounding

We’ve all been there, and so will your child sooner or later. It is not easy to tell your big, brown-eyed daughter she can’t go to the movies with her friends or to the school dance. Be strong! Whatever it was that got things to this point was dire enough that a strong response was called for. It won’t be pretty, but it’s your job, and it is just one of many things she will thank you for later in life.

10. Prevention

As a parent, you most likely know your child better than they know themselves. Use that insight to stop potential problems before they ever occur. Reward her for the many great things she does. Praise her with lots of love for her achievements. Building a high level of trust and understanding with your child will prevent a great deal of issues that would require a discipline tactic. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Tell us! What is your best discipline strategy?


Do you feel like I raise my voice when I correct you?

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