7 Parenting Strategies That Can Help Instill Discipline In Your Child

By in Parenting on 18 March 2009

Parents play a key role in making sure that a child knows the distinction between a behavior that is acceptable, and one that is not. Parents are pretty much aware that there is no perfect discipline strategy that can work for all children. What works for one child may not be effective for another. In order for your discipline strategy to be effective, it may be good to consider your child’s developmental stage.

In disciplining children, parents should not only aim at showing a child appropriate behavior, but it should also promote a sense of responsibility and a healthy self-esteem. Here are a few basic discipline techniques that may be applicable to preschool-aged children. You may apply these in combination with any strategy that may work best for your child:

1. Do not give attention to any annoying behavior that your child shows. Children at this age crave attention, and if you give attention to bad habits like whining and tantrums, it may only encourage your child to keep on doing these habits. Ignore inappropriate behavior, but never fail to ignore any behavior that may put your child in danger.

2. Set-up logical consequences that are closely related to the improper acts that your child did. Preschoolers can already understand the link between actions and consequences. Make sure that your child clearly understands the rules set at home, so that he will know why he is being punished for a particular deed.

If your child scribbles on the wall with crayons, you may warn your child initially. If your child does it again, have your child clean it up or you can keep the crayons for a short time. In employing this strategy, consider your child’s limitations. If your child is still not developmentally capable of cleaning the entire mess, you can assist your child but he also has to do his part in accomplishing the task.

3. Try redirecting your child’s behavior. During instances when your child starts to misbehave, try to have him focus his attention to something else. If he is starting a fight with a playmate regarding a specific toy, try to offer other toys that he may also find interesting.

4. Utilize time-outs appropriately. Time-outs can be quite effective for children three years old and older. Choose a safe spot in your home for time-outs, and make sure that the area does not have any distractions like toys or the television. Many experts suggest that the duration of the time-out should depend on the child’s age. A full minute is equivalent to one year of a child’s age. Thus, a three-year old child is expected to have a three minute time-out.

Keep in mind that the primary goal of a time-out is to separate a child from the activity, or the people associated with the misbehavior. After the time-out, you can then encourage your child to engage in a positive activity.

5. Do not fail to praise your child for showing positive behavior and doing good deeds. Remember, discipline is not just about giving punishments, but it should also be about acknowledging good behavior. If you witness your child share a toy with a playmate, be specific in acknowledging the good behavior. Utilizing praise as a strategy is usually more effective than punishing a child for misbehaving.

6. Set the right example. Modeling the right behavior is not as easy as what many people may think. There are times when parents can send conflicting messages to the kids, by not doing the things that they preach. Children can easily pick up the behavior of their parents, and it is important you try to show them proper behavior.

7. Reward positive behavior. After you have established rules at home, you may also come up with a reward system, so that your child will be encouraged to obey. These rewards should not be something material, but rather it should be more on having extra privileges that your child enjoys. If your child behaved properly at a play group, you may reward your child by allowing more TV time during the day.

Parents will always have varied strategies in trying to instill discipline in children. As parents, we are also not perfect and at times we can also make mistakes. Learn as you go along. With nothing but the best intentions for your child, surely you will eventually develop a strategy that can work best.

3 Comments For This Post

  1. Great Post Jane!

    Its disappointing to see parents who try to use the method that had been used to train child A on child Z and when that fails,what happens.

    They starts consulting counselors which don’t always produce good results and could even endear their child to the counselor than to the parents,which many parents will not happy about.

    Will you?

  2. These are excellent strategies, one additional thought– because discipline is about learning, when your child does something wrong, ask your child if he or she can tell you what was wrong. That way your child will feel good if he “gets the answer right” (i.e., I drew on the wall), and parents can feel reassured that their child has internalized right and wrong. Then you can even ask, “and what do you need to do now?” and again your child can show you what he/she knows by suggesting a reparation strategy (how to fix it!)

    Your child may not always be able to answer right, but this strategy instills a sense of responsibility and accountability which overtime helps build self concept.

    Tamar Chansky

  3. Jane Heiza says:

    Thank you for sharing your valuable insights. As parents, we can indeed develop our very own strategies in trying to instill discipline in our children. What works for one child may not work for other children, which allows us to modify our strategies, so we can find effective ways that can work.

    I believe that parenting is a continuous process that entails learning. And while other parents may resort to counseling, parents should still work doubly hard in trying to reach out to their kids. Counselors may help find solutions to a problem, but in the end it is still how parents apply these suggested solutions.

    In our quest to become better parents each day, we can also make mistakes. But with nothing but the best intentions for our children, we can definitely take each mistake as a beautiful learning experience.


Should I Spank My Kids?

Spanking is a subject that many parents prefer to be discreet about. With many opposing views on this discipline method, debates are common when the topic is brought up in friendly social circles or even in intimate family gatherings. With kids equipped with extraordinary manipulative talents even at a young age, how do you deal […]

What Parents Need To Know About Oppositional Defiant Disorder In Children

Children may go through a phase when they seem to be really strong-willed, or when they may be really difficult to handle. These challenges may be expected, especially when these are related to a child’s developmental stage. However, if the display of behavior is excessive, and if it has lasted for at least 6 months, […]

How To Help Your Child Excel In School

Children who excel academically don’t just rely on their genes to help them go through school in a breeze. It’s really more about the training that parents instill in kids at an early age. But helping kids do well in their studies should never be all about just what they learn from school, or from […]

Should You Put Your Toddler On Time Out?

Parents have different ways of instilling discipline to their child. They mostly rely on their own judgement when a child does something wrong like throwing a tantrum or hurting others. Some parents may simply turn the other cheek while others may resort to punishment. Somewhere in the middle lies the “Time Out”. A child typically gets […]

How Can I Stop My Child From Biting Others?

Aside from piranhas, kids bite too! While we are familiar with kicking, hitting and throwing tantrums – biting is also a behavioral issue that ranks high on the list of problem behavior amongst children. Kids bite because they are easily frustrated, and they can’t vent negative emotions properly yet. For others, biting is an act […]

Advertise Here