Parenting Valuable Tips: Part 9

Be an amazing parent:

Discipline Made Easy: Part 1

Here are some positive and effective guidelines to consider when figuring out your approach to discipline.

Do not confuse discipline with punishment

Punishment often consists of threats, yelling, over-reactions, put downs and spanking. Negative reinforcement has been shown to be less effective over time. That is because human being tends to make choices on whether they think they will get away with it or not. We often aren’t inspired to do something just because it is the right thing to do. People are very self-centered in this aspect. Especially children who haven’t learned a value system, yet.  Violent punishment can teach children to be afraid of their parents or may promote violence. The result of effective, positive discipline is a child who is responsible, chooses personal safety, and has positive values.

Try to Distract the child away from the inappropriate behavior

A positive and easy method to try when your child is misbehaving is to change the subject.  Give them the idea of something else to do or give them a choice. Example: a child is crying at the grocery store. You could say, “Let’s pick out what cereal you want to eat this week?” or another idea would be to ask “What costs more…a bag of carrots or this package of blueberries?'” Real life example: I was sitting in a boat, and a small child was casting a fishing line towards me. Instead of yelling at the child, I distracted him with a funny fishing story.

If the behavior is inappropriate, ignore the behavior (like a temper tantrum)

Pretend you could care less. My grandson said he did not want to go for a walk. When our encouragements did not change his mind, we said that we would just go for a walk with his sister. We went out to the garage for a few minutes and then I ran back in because I “forgot” something. He was then ready to go for a walk with us.

Give structure to the environment

Tell your child ahead of time what to expect. Example: “We are going to grandma’s home today. We will leave for Grandma’s home after nap time and stay for supper. After supper, we will come back home, take a bath and get ready for bed.” Children need structure. Routines can give them a sense of control and security. If plans change, explain why? Example: “Grandma is not feeling well; we will need to leave early and eat supper at home.” The more simple plans you can lay out for your child: the more secure your child will feel. A secure child is a more emotionally stable child. Tip: Do not allow arguing. State the facts and if they are unhappy…acknowledge their feelings but emphasize that this is the new plan. Instead of trying to convince them, remind them that you make the decisions in these matters. A child needs to understand that a parent is an authority figure. 

Mom holding up babyWork on controlling the situation not the child

Whenever possible, show your child that you are in control of the situation. It lets them know that there will be consequences for their behavior.  Example: We will leave the restaurant unless you choose not to sit quietly”. “If you do not stop crying in the store, you will not get you your afternoon treats for this week.” Remind them when you are following through with the consequence that they chose this repercussion by their own decision. Children, at a young age, need to learn that their decisions often determine a positive or negative ending. 

Use the three warning rule

Example: “I need you to put on your coat right now. I will give you 3 warnings. On the third warning, you will not be able to go to your friend’s house tonight after school.” First warning,  “please put on your coat.” 2nd warning, “I am asking a 2nd time, please put your coat on.” Third warning,  ” If your coat is not put on immediately, you had chosen not to go to your friend’s house tonight by not putting on your coat when I asked you to do it.”  Another form of this technique would be to count to 3, slowly after saying the expected behavior. A  3rd form of this method is to hold up a finger each time you give the 1, 2 & 3 warning. This adds a visual stimulus to the request. Tip: Never make idle threats. If you say you are going to do something, always follow through. Children need structure and consistency to learn and change a behavior. If they think you will forget, they are less apt to let you be in charge. The only exception to this rule is if you become angry and overreact. Like…” if you don’t put on your coat, you will be grounded for a month.” If you let your emotions cloud your judgment, then you must explain the change in consequences. Example: “I overreacted this morning and now that I have calmed down, I realize that the fair thing to do would be to ground you for a weekend, not a month.”  Look for Part 2 of Discipline made easy at        


Some other parenting resources would be Positive Discipline: 41 Methods of Healthy Discipline for child rearing” by Felicity Friedman. Positive Parenting in Action by Laura Ling and Rebecca Earnes. For more Valuable Quick Parenting Tips go to You can also choose to book a conversation to discuss your parenting or child discipline woes.