Discipline should be thought of as the teaching of good and
appropriate behavior. Effective parenting techniques use discipline
proactively. They encourage your child's sense of responsibility, nurture
self-esteem, and strengthen your parent–child relationship.
important to continually learn and practice good parenting techniques, using
different discipline strategies as your child grows and develops. All
discipline techniques must be age-appropriate so that the child understands the
difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Babies less than 18
months old cannot understand these concepts.
No one technique of
discipline works for all situations. The wise parent develops a variety of
skills and approaches, such as:
Ignoring annoying behavior when possible. Ignore behavior that will not harm your child, such as bad
habits, whining, and tantrums. Never ignore potentially dangerous behavior.
While it is hard to do nothing, this lack of attention takes away the very
audience your child is seeking. Recognize, though, that ignoring annoying
behavior only works if appropriate behavior is praised. Behavior you ignore
tends to decrease, and behavior you pay attention to (good or bad) tends to
Using facial expressions and body language to convey how you feel about your child's behavior. Facial
expressions and body language can let your child know how disappointed you are
in his or her inappropriate behavior. Older children can be told that their
behavior has made you feel upset, sad, or angry.
Using logical consequences. Let the consequence make the
point. For example, take away privileges that closely match a child's
inappropriate actions. If a child:
Misuses a toy, take it away for a short
period. (If the loss of privilege lasts too long, the child focuses more on
resentment, losing the point of the lesson.)
Writes on the wall
with crayons, have the child help you wash it and take away the crayons for a
Redirecting behavior. Try
distracting a child who is starting to misbehave. For example, if your child
has trouble taking turns with a toy, show him or her another
Rewarding good behavior. Establish
rules and expectations clearly. Then reward your child when rules are followed.
For example, when the toys are picked up, you and your child can have story
time. When your school-age child comes home from school on time, he or she can
have a friend over.
Making it easy to succeed. Help your child to meet your expectations by providing
appropriate tools. For example, rearrange space where items regularly are not
picked up, such as adding baskets and low hooks for easier cleanup.
Modeling correct behavior. Patiently show
your child the right way to behave or do a chore.
Using time-outs wisely. Starting at age 2, use time-outs to respond
to dangerous and harmful behavior such as biting, hitting, and purposeful
destruction. Have the child sit in a place where there are no distractions.
Explain what he or she did wrong and how to behave appropriately next time.
Keep time-outs to 1 minute for every year of age, up to a maximum of 5 minutes.
Use a timer. After a time-out, acknowledge when the child behaves
If you are concerned about your parenting abilities, contact
people or organizations that can help you learn proper skills, such as your
child's doctor, a local hospital, or national parenting groups.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.