• The word discipline means to impart knowledge and skills to teach.
  • However it is often equated with punishment and control.we seem to come across a great deal of controversy about the appropriate ways to discipline children and parents are often confused about effective ways to set limits and instill self control in their child.
  • Discipline is the structure that helps the child to fit into the real world happily.
  •  It is the basic foundation for the development of the child's own self - discipline.
  • Parents should strongly focus on the idea of effective and positive discipline for guiding and teaching their children,not forcing them to obey.
  • The child must strongly believe that the parents live and support him or her profoundly and limitlessly.
  • Trust between parents and child should be maintained and constantly built upon.
  • Disciplining children is one of the most important yet difficult responsibilities of parenting and there are no short cuts.
  • The foundation of effective discipline is respect.The child should be able to respect the child's authority and also the rights of others.
  • Harsh discipline such as
  1. verbal abuse
  2. shouting
  3. calling names ,will also make it hard for the child to respect and trust the parent.
  • Disciplining the child with mutual respect in a firm ,fair,reasonable and consistent way must be executed.
  • One of the most important duties of parents is to protect the child from danger,help the child to learn self discipline , develop a healthy conscience ,an internal sense of responsibility and control and instill values.

Parental guidance for infants:-

  • Infants need a schedule around feeding,sleeping and play or interaction with people around them.
  • Do not over stimulate infants.
  • Disciplinary techniques such as spanking or time-out should not be used.

Early toddlers:- 

  • Early toddlers love to experiment things according to their own self.Therefore parental tolerance is advisable.
  • Disciplinary processes are necessary to ensure
  1. toddler's safety
  2. limit aggression
  3. Prevent destruction behaviour.
  • Remove the child or the object with a firm "NO" or redirect the attention of a child to sneak alternative activity usually works.
  • Parents must not leave the child alone because the child needs supervision,assurance of the love and warmth of the parents.
  • Verbal directions and explanation are not actual forms of discipline for early toddlers.

School age children. :-

  • Well the struggle for mastery independence continues.The child's frustration at realising limitation in such struggles leads to temper outbursts.
  • Parents must continue to supervise them,set limits and routines for them.
  • School age children tend to act autonomously,eager to choose their own activities and friends,and,to some extent recognise other than parental authority.In such behaviours parents must continue to make the important decisions because school age children cannot always put reasoning and judgement into practise.
  • Parents should praise and approve liberally to encourage behaviour and growth into a more mature human being.


  • Conflicts frequently ensue because  the adolescents adhere increasingly to the peer group,challenges family values and rules as a result distances himself from the parents.
  • Parents can meet these challenges by:
  1. being always available for them
  2. setting rules for them in non critical ways 
  3. not belittling them
  4. avoid lectures and
  5. predict catastrophes.
  • Please do not use disciplinary spanking.It only makes matters more worse.

Setting rules and applying consequences :-

       Rules are established for children so they can learn to live co-operatively with others;to teach them to differentiate right from wrong and to protect them from harm.
Here are a few rules and limits to help parents for effective discipline.
  • Reinforce desirable behaviour.
  • Praise positive behaviour and catch children being good.
  • Avoid nagging and making threats without consequences.This latter may even encourage the undesired behaviour.
  • Rules must be followed consistently.
  • Ignore unimportant and irrelevant behaviour.
  • Set reasonable and consistent limits.For example grounding a child for a month may not be feasible.
  • State acceptable and appropriate behaviour  clearly to your child.
  • Give your top and first priority to safety,then to correcting behaviour that harms people and property and then to behaviour such as whining,temper,tantrums and interrupting.
  • Parents must know and accept age appropriate behaviour;for example if a toddler spills a glass of water accidentally then accept it as a normal behaviour from him.
  • But on the other if a child refuses to wear a bicycle helmet after being  said repeatedly then it's a willful defiance and must be handled with both care and strictly.
  • In applying consequences parents may again find these suggestions helpful .
Apply consequences as soon as possible.
  • Do not enter into an argument with a child during the correction process.Make a brief consequences to them.
  • Parents must mean what they say and say it without shouting at the child.
  • Parents must instill relies values in their child from the very first phase of their upbringing.
  • Please avoid verbal abuse and physical punishment.They cause more damage and make children more adamant.
  • Follow consequences with love and trust.
  • Guard your child against humiliation.
  • Model forgiveness and avoid bringing up past mistakes.
Worst discipline mistakes parents make and alternatives to follow :-


Yelling may be an effective way to vent frustration,unfortunately most kids of "frequent yellers"soon learn to tune it out.


The behaviour doesn't change and kids grow hostile.


Please stop,ask your own self how would you like being yelled at.Most children respond better to a calm,reasonable request or command.Save your yelling for emergency situations.

Demanding Immediate Compliance :-

Children don't respond well to demands to "do it now!",or "stop that this second!" are often ignored and turned out.


Make a respectful and a firm request and praise and reward good behaviour.


Nagging is often a problem for parents who try to be lenient and persuasive.They don't want to get angry but are constant nagging around the kids.


Get the child's full attention.

Example :-

Just stand in front of a tv screen rather than calling from another room.Make firm,consistent requests with clear limits.


Kids love rewards.Just praise a reward to a first time response.If needed give a warning.....lunch is in 20 minutes.

Lecturing and advice giving:-

We often find parents lecturing and advising children.Its fruitless.


Ask question.what happens when you do your homework? What do you do first?
Advice is not fruitless but it is often given when it is not wanted or at a wrong time.

Example :-

An anxious child who has brought home a poor report card will not be receptive to advice.


Reduce the anxiety.I see you are upset with this.Lets both think of some ways to help your grades and we will talk about it after dinner.

Other alternatives :-

Role playing:I will be you and you will be your teacher.would you like to know a good way to handle that? Learn to use informal opportunities to teach a lesson or make a point.

Taking anger out on kids :-

Overreaction and inappropriate anger are extremely common in our high stress society.


You may say things that stick with your kids for a long time.


Kids are hurt,confused.

If you over react:-

Offer your kids a heartfelt apology,along with an explanation.

Result :-

Kids learn to talk about feelings and understand human fallibility.


If you blow up at your kids often,tend to your own needs.Go to the gym or for a walk before coming home.Take a quiet time,find a support network.

Shaming and belittling :-

Parents often don't realize they make remarks that cause their children to feel smaller,inadequate less intelligent or more insecure.

Example :-

Why are you acting like a baby? Well sorry to say that's the dumbest thing you ever said!! You can say,"if you can't behave I am leaving forever."


Monitor your language and be aware how often you say positive versus negative things.Make sure you are dealing adequately with your own feelings so they don't spill over onto your kids.

Setting traps:-

Punitive and authoritarian parents often try to catch their children in a lie to prove a point.

Example :-

You find a note in your child's room that refers to a friend's smoking.A trap setter says,"Do you or your friend smoke?" "NO!" What about this note? As a result you have a defensive child who learns to lie,conceal and mistrust parents.


Straightforward trusting enquiry. I found this note in your room that concerns me.Can we talk about it?Not everything children write is true.

Physical punishment:-

The purpose of discipline from discipline,a student or follower is to teach the child to have self discipline. This is never accomplished by physical force.


Parents who hit or physically punish their children instill hostility and resentment rather than respect.

Experience :-

Just last week I shouted at my teen age  for not responding to my calling.Infact I threatened him verbally.The outcome was outrageous.It took me hours to come closer to him and a dozen apologies along with many hugs and kisses softened him.


Usually the behaviour is not prevented from recurring and great damage is done to parent child relationship.
Physical punishment tends to repeat in families.If you frequently loose control or routinely hit children as a method of discipline,examine your own childhood.Parents who regularly strike their children in frustration or anger usually lack alternative skills and often have unrealistic expectations of their children at different ages.

Recommended :-

Get development information on normal child or teen behaviours and improve parenting skills through many books,magazines,videotapes,support groups,workshops and other resources.


Discipline is about changing behaviour,not about punishing children.Discipline allows children to develop self discipline and helps them become emotionally and socially mature adults.It is essential to emphasise to parents the importance of being consistent,being a good role model and avoiding empty threats.                                                                                                                          By Arshi Javed.                                                                                                                   

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