How to effectively discipline children

The most important aspects of discipline are to stay calm and create appropriate consequences.

How to effectively discipline children
When you engage in an argument with your child, you are simply handing over your power.
Foto: Flickr

Discipline can be a very tricky thing to do and, more importantly, stick with. In the heat of the moment, parents may find themselves threatening silly punishments like “You will never watch TV again!” Unfortunately, if you live in a reasonable household, this type of punishment will never work. Unless you remove the TV from your home, the child will watch it again.

So what you have done as a parent is discredit yourself as a disciplinarian. Idle threats get old, and eventually, children start to ignore them. The most important aspects of discipline are to stay calm and create appropriate consequences. These tips are geared toward younger children; parents make the most impact on their children’s behavior when they are young.

Trying to stay calm while angry is nearly impossible. So unless there is a safety issue, simply tell your child you will be discussing consequences at a later time. This gives you a moment to think about what you want your child to learn from the situation, and about the best punishment, if one is necessary. When you engage in an argument with your child, you are simply handing over your power.

A child should not be treated as an adult; instead, the child should be told why a behavior is wrong. If your child has a question, you should try your best to answer it, but if he or she tries to argue with you, you can simply end the conversation. As a parent, you have the power to stop a conversation if it grows into an argument.

Appropriate consequences are important as you establish a relationship with your child. Although we would all like to have perfect children, that will never be the case. Children will make mistakes and at times need to be disciplined for them.

Every family has their particular punishment style; whether it is time out, restrictions, or doing extra chores, discipline is usually necessary. Being consistent with those punishments is very difficult, but it is the only way they will be effective.

If you say a child cannot play video games for one week, do not give in by day three. The child will remember that you were easily persuaded and will not take your punishments seriously. This fact is why it is important to create reasonable consequences that both you and your child can stick with.

The ultimate goal of every parent is to create well-behaved, respectful, and compassionate children. Discipline, although not always fun, is part of helping your child learn proper behavior. Talking to your child is always the first and best option. Yet if the same behavior occurs over and over, action may be necessary. Another great way to teach children proper behavior is by modeling it. During family gatherings, make sure children are involved so they can learn by watching family members. Spending time with children and doing fun family activities helps grow a love and respect for each other that may eventually make discipline unnecessary.