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Discipline Kids: Parenting Mistakes Every Parent Should Avoid

Updated on June 11, 2012
A Mad Baby
A Mad Baby | Source

In response to the question: Common Mistakes Parents Make When Disciplining Their Kids?

Parents are human, so we make mistakes. Especially when it comes to disciplining our kids, many of us make huge mistakes that could potentially lead or even force them to a wrong path. We make mistakes by using the wrong methods to correct our kids' misbehavior. As a mother of three young kids, I would strongly suggest you to avoid these three most common mistakes that many parents have made:

Power Struggle with Kids

No doubt that we, as parents, should have the authority to set rules in the house and give guidelines for our kids to follow. However, from time to time some parents would abuse this power and as a result, they would find themselves trap in the power struggle with their kids. I still remember the incident when I visited my friend Sally with my kids over a weekend. She told me that she had bought a new educational program for kids to play and learn at the same time and asked if my five-year-old son wanted to try it. Of course my son happily said yes. But my friend’s ten-year-old daughter shouted from the dinning table, “NO, He can’t.” My friend rolled her eyes and said to me, “Don’t mind her. I bought the program. Go ahead and check it out.” “You bought it for me. Then it is mine. And I said NO.” her daughter started to scream. I didn’t want this argument to continue, so I told my friend that my son would entertain himself by reading a picture book or playing with the toys they had in the house. But my friend wouldn’t give in. She snared at her daughter, “Don’t you forget I was the one who paid for it.” Then she ignored her daughter by helping my son to her daughter’s computer desk and started to get the program ready. Her daughter dropped her food and ran over right away as she screamed “Stop! He can’t.” She turned off the monitor, then had her hand firmly cover the power button. That really got my son’s nerve. He was so close to having the chance to play a new computer game, only now got ruined by this mean girl. He immediately shouted back, “Yes, I can. Your mom said so.” I was shock with my son’s respond. I stopped him before he could say more. Then I told him if he wanted to play the game he had to ask this big sister nicely for her permission. “May I play on your computer, please?” was all my son said and it took the girl by surprise. All eyes were on her and we were quietly waiting for her reply. She paused at first, then her fierce look on her face disappeared. She slowly removed her hand from the monitor and said to my son with her normal tone, “Just a little bit, okay? … Here, let me show you which one I like the most…” I exchanged a look with my friend and we went back to the sofa and continue our chatting.

Corporal Punishment

Many parents still believe the only way to get their kids to listen and follow the rules is to let them feel the physical pain. By inflicting physical seems effectively stop the misbehavior at the moment. However, it doesn’t stop the kids from breaking the rules behind their parents. Worse yet, it cultivates a perfect reason for them to lie in order to protect themselves from being harm. And it also damages the bond between parents and the kids. Many years ago before I had my own kids, I witnessed this sad incident while I attended a friend’s birthday party. A young mother arrived at the party with her six-year-old daughter. The little girl saw the delicious chocolate cookies on the table and quickly grabbed one while her mom was chatting with other people. But her mom caught her and took the cookies right away as she shouted, “How many time do I need to tell you that no dessert before main meal? Will you ever listen?” Then followed by few slaps on the poor little girl’s hand. To my surprise, the little girl didn’t cry. She bit her lip and sat down on a nearby sofa as her mom instructed. But a moment later, when the mother went to the backyard to talk to other people, the little girl quickly ran to the table and grabbed a handful of cookies. Her eyes were fixed on the door to the back yard as she chomped up on the cookies. When the mother was back, the little girl was done eating the cookies and sitting quietly at the same spot playing her doll. Her mom was cross as she stared at her daughter’s face. “I told you no cookies before main meal, why didn’t you listen?” “I didn’t eat the cookies,” the girl protested. “Liar. Why don‘t you see for yourself?” the mother fumed and dragged her daughter to the bathroom. After some shouting and a lot of "Ouch", the mother came out triumphantly with a sobbing daughter trailing behind. I could see the resentfulness in the little girl’s tearing eyes as she stared at her mother’s back.

Empty Threats

This tactic will never work when it comes to discipline kids. Don’t ever under estimate your kids. They are very smart and know what to do if you don’t follow your word through. If you exercise this method, you kid will never take your word seriously. If you don’t mean it or you know you won’t follow through it, then just don’t say it. It is common for parents discipline their kids with corporal punishment in China. I remember my mom would always threaten to beat us up if we didn’t do what she said. But most of the time they were just empty threats. Over time those threats were just the background noises and we would continue to go about our own business. My mom eventually gave up and moved on to other things. However, for those parents who would do what they say, they gain their authority as parents. My friend had tried numerous ways to get her three-year-old daughter to finish her meal in thirty minutes but failed. Her husband noticed his wife never enforced the punishment she initialed. So he took over the task. He told his daughter the same thing that she would go hungry if she didn't finish her food in thirty minutes. Her daughter thought her dad just making empty threats like her mom, so she ignored it. But after few nights of going to bed hungry, the little girl wouldn't dare to break the rule when her dad is around.

If you could avoid the above common mistakes other parents have made, it would be a lot easier to discipline your kids.


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    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 4 years ago

      I wish more parents thought like you. I grew up in a very disfunctional family with a mixed bag of physical and verbal abuse. I tried talking to my mother about the treament I was given by her as a child and as an adult and she denied ever doing anything wrong.

      So many times in my life I wished I could've talked to my Mom during difficult times but she was not open to it. If I tried I was met with negativity and critical remarks. I only see her on holidays during family functions now. I chose not to be around her because she just causes me heartache.

      Parents should really think before they act when it comes to discipline. This a great hub!! Voted up and useful!:)

    • kittyjj profile image

      Ann Leung 5 years ago from San Jose, California

      Thank you Made for stopping by and Voted up. :)

    • Made profile image

      Madeleine Salin 5 years ago from Finland

      Good hub with some good advice. Voted up!