How To Discipline Children

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Prov 22:6

Child discipline is all about being firm and consistent.

Consistent means:

  • To be in agreement with itself, not self-contradictory
  • To be steady
  • To be reliable.
All of these are very important when thinking about how to discipline children.

It is amazing how many of us are not in agreement with ourselves - meaning we change our minds frequently

This often means in turn that we are neither steady nor reliable - two qualities our children should be able to trust in their parents. Consistency is very hard to achieve sometimes:

  • when we are tired
  • when we are stressed
  • when we are hungry
  • when we are on a tight schedule

Often when we need to be consistent the most is when we find it most difficult. This is because it takes energy to be consistent.

Discipline is about teaching the right way to do things. Remember, relationship should never be at stake. Your child should still feel loved even when you need to carry out discipline. A warm responsive parent such as the authoritative style parent will be able to bring correction but be responsive to the child.

Children will make mistakes, it is part of maturing and taking risks in life. They learn best within an environment of love which includes discipline. Setting limits and boundaries helps children to understand and learn about internal government. This internal government stops us going out and killing, stealing, and hurting others.

Head off bad behavior if you can.

Try to notice when your child is behaving and doing things well. Say thank you when they have helped you to do something as well.

Spend a bit of quality time with your children. Sometimes children are naughty in order to get some attention, negative or not.

Always make sure your child understands what you require of them. If you are asking them to do something, do so clearly and make sure that they have both heard and understood.

For young children distraction may do the trick especially if you act fast.

Always be clear when an enjoyed activity will finish to prevent bad behavior. For instance: We are leaving the park in 5 minutes. If needed do 3 minute warnings then 1 minute.

How to discipline children - using consequences

Setting clear limits and boundaries is our job as parents until our children develop good internal government. Unless we set these for our children they will not know how to behave.

Children learn best by having consequences to their actions, good and bad.

If you use consequences you must be consistent at carrying them out, this takes energy and time. If you don't carry out what you say your children will constantly push you and you will constantly be yelling or nagging.

Use consequences that are linked to the bad behavior, this way, it is not simply about being punished, but being taught about a better way to do things.

Here are some examples:

  • If your young daughter bites your son then she is removed from the area for a short time, then will need to say sorry.
  • If your son comes in late for tea, then he must come in earlier for three nights to show you that he can come in at the right time.
  • If your child won't do what you ask because they are watching TV then the television goes off.

How to discipline children - steps to take

  • Always give a warning for bad behavior to stop, or a required action to be done.
  • Get down to your child's level and look them in the eye and be clear and firm about the required behavior, and the consequence for disobeying.
  • If your child then does not comply carry out the consequence in a calm manner.
  • Use clear language to explain the bad behavior and what your child can do to put things right.
  • Once you have done this carry on with your day, don't bring it up again and forgive your child. (Unforgiveness breeds bitterness and leaves you discontented)

How to discipline children - time out!

Time out can work really well for children

What you do is:

  • Find a place where your child will sit for time out - a stair, a corner, a chair etc
  • Your child should be placed in the time out area for a minute for every year of their life.
  • Do not enter into conversation with your child when you place them there.
  • You may need to stay nearby when you are using this technique with young children
  • If your child moves away from this area before the time is up place them back
  • The minutes start when they stay in the designated ares.
  • When time out is done explain clearly why you put them there, or ask an older child to tell you why they are there.
  • Ask your child for a sorry.
  • Give a hug
  • Then it's over, forgotten about.

Leave how to discipline children, return to parenting discipline page

Return to parenting kids home page

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Why not visit our forums below

Kids Rooms

Homeschool help

Funny things kids say

Parenting help

Kids work

Homeschool ideas and resources

Parent News

Sign up to our newsletter and get our activities for bored kids book free.

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Kids Zine.