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Best Way To Discipline Your Child

Updated on December 11, 2013

At some point in your child’s life you will need to take away privileges. It isn’t easy and believe me, it will be almost as hard on you as it is on them. They will whine, beg and bargain to get their stuff back or get out of that chair but you have to hold your ground.

Get All The Facts

Make sure you have as much information as possible before doling out punishment. If you weren’t present to see the deed, call other parents, teachers or adults who were there or talk to kids who may know more details.

Don’t take one adult’s story over your child’s. Most grown ups are mature and don’t pick on kids but some are not. If your son or daughter is adamant that they are innocent, look into it. Don’t assume a teacher or parent is always right.

Make the Punishment Fit the Crime

To you three months may not seem like very long but to a teenager it is a lifetime. If the time is too long some will rebel and sneak around to get privileges back. You can actually make a child worse by giving a too severe sentence.

Experts say a time-out (the little tots equivalent of grounding) should be a minute per year of age. It’s a good idea to have a timeout chair that is only used when junior is in trouble. A minute timer helps so that they don't have to keep asking if they can get up yet. Little ones can't tell time.

For older kids, it helps to write it on a calendar that way they have tangible evidence of their freedom and won’t keep asking you.

Don’t Discuss Punishment While Angry

If you are about to explode send them to their room and give them an appointment time of when you will discuss punishment in a couple of hours or however long you need. Don’t make them wait too long as that is punishment in itself.

Meditate, burn sagebrush, listen to soothing music, do yoga or T’ai Chi or take a nap, whatever works to calm you down so you don’t kill them.

If during your discussion with them you feel you are losing your cool, take a break and have them come back later.

Looking at your sweet little infant now while they sleep, you probably can’t imagine ever being that mad…it will happen especially if you are a man.

Don’t Back Down-

Kids are smart. If whining gets them less time they will do it every time and it will wear you down. Keeping to the agreement teaches them that no amount of complaining will get their way and they eventually stop.

When you give the initial grounding tell them if they whine about it you will add more time to the grounding. This usually puts a stop to grumbling.

Types of Punishment-

Simply sending them to their room isn’t really much punishment these days since kids have a plethora of electronics and entertainment options.

Taking away electronic gadgets, television, computer or mode of transportation: car, bicycle or motorcycle works for older children. If there are times they are home alone before you get off work you may need to hide cables, batteries or lock them up.

If you’ve taken the computer away and they need it for school make sure they are in the same room with you so you can monitor what they are doing and not playing on social networking sites.

Cell phones are not a necessity even though we think so. Unless they will be at a sports practice or church activity where they will have to call for a ride, in most cases they can do without it.

Don't make things like reading or exercise punishment.

If you tell your child they must read four books before they can have privileges back or make them do push ups they will associate those things as bad. Reading and exercise are important parts of a healthy life and you don't want to give your child a negative assessment of them.

I also don't think it is a good idea to take books away as punishment. Even if you have a bookworm in the family it is a good idea to use some other form of discipline.

Be careful what you use as penalty because it can cause kids to detest those things later on. This is why taking away privileges is a better solution.

Admit When You Are Wrong-

Sometimes we get information wrong or we make incorrect assumptions. This is why it’s good to have a cool down time.

If you have punished your child and later find out they were not in trouble after all apologize and make restitution. This shows them it’s important to admit when we make mistakes, it’s okay to talk about it and when we are wrong we should make it right.

Being too proud to admit an error sends children the wrong message. They learn a lot from our behavior and attitude. We are their biggest role models whether we realize it or not.


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    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      capncrunch, kids are all different and we have to learn what works with each of them. It's not an easy job. Thanks for reading.

    • capncrunch profile image

      capncrunch 6 years ago from New Orleans

      Hello Pamela N Red,

      I thank you for sharing this Hub with us! It is very practical and educational. I've always felt my parents did good with the rearing of their children. But oh, how times have changed and we must be on the constant learning trail also.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Dearabbysmom, I grew up with the same mindset as you and there were times when adults weren't right but never admitted it. Children need to know we are only human and sometimes make mistakes too.

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      Great hub...I also appreciate that you emphasised if a parent makes a mistake in punishing their child, they need to make it right. I was raised to believe adults are never wrong, and what a shock to grow up and find out that we often are!

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks, Seafarer, unfortunately not all adults are mature and some will pick on kids just like another child will.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen A Szklany 6 years ago from New England

      Great Hub, Pamela. Glad you made the point about investigating the story about what happened thoroughly and not taking one adult's story as truth just because they were an adult "witness." I do my best to see things through my daughter's eyes and get at what she was thinking when she did something we'd see as "naughty." I usually at least require her to apologize to the person, small or big, that she has "offended".

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reading, JSMatthew.

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 6 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Great Hub!

      This is the same way I was raised and I continue the "tradition" of discipline with my children. If you get a chance, please check out my Hubs on this subject and let me know what you think.

      Keep up the good work! Very close to home!


    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reading, Becky.

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      Becky 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Good advice, thanks for sharing.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      smcopywrite, children have to be taught what is right and wrong. Sometimes they know it but temptation is strong.

      Alexander, being a parent is the hardest job I've ever had.

      Cogerson, I have seen that too and it teaches kids the wrong lesson.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Great hub.....the power of the corner is a very powerful tool....I agree with you have to admit when you are wrong....I know some parents that will never ever admit they made a mistake to their children...which their children think they are completely unfair...voted up

    • Alexander Pease profile image

      Alexander Pease 6 years ago from Maine

      If I ever have children, this hub will come in handy. Great work.

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web

      disciplining children is something each parent must and should do. this sets boundaries and keeps them from going out of them.

      your kids may not like it but will thank you for it later.

    • Pamela N Red profile image

      Pamela N Red 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      Very smart advice. Now if only parents are smart enough to take it..Up and useful.

    • ThunderKeys profile image

      ThunderKeys 6 years ago

      Excellent advice for parents on delivering effective negative consequences for negative choices. The emotional self-control part is absolutely critical. Thanks for the great read! - Duddy.

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      Theses are great tips. When my daughter was little, she didn't understand "time-out" or choose not to. Whenever she was given one, she would wriggle out of it, tenaciously, using whatever "wiles" she could muster. I had to literally sit with her at designated area to make sure she understands the punishment. I thinking sticking to it is very important. Rated up.