How to discipline your child effectively, but with love

When it comes time to disciplining a child, we often don’t know the best way to do it. Preteens and teenagers are the most difficult age group to discipline as they are going through a difficult age with hormonal change. I’ve heard parents say discipline doesn’t work with their child. Often times we may lose our patience as we deal with stressful situations at work and home. Then, how to discipline your child effectively but with love.

Each family must decide which behaviors are acceptable, which are not, and what punishment or consequence will apply when a child breaks the rules. When my children were younger, we used the “time out” system a lot; after three warnings, the child had to sit in silence for a certain amount of time (one minute per year of age) and after a few minutes, the punishment ended. Now that they are older, I still give them three warnings and from there I proceed to take away privileges (i.e., television, video games, cell phone, etc.)  

Here are tips that can help you decide how to discipline your children:

First, establish clear rules and communicate these rules to your child,

Establish clear consequences if the rules are not followed.

Give warnings to the child and remind them what would happen if the rules are broken.

Follow through with the consequences. If you tell your child you are taking away their phone for a week, make sure you take the phone away for a week.

Very important: be consistent. Your child needs to know that every time he/she misbehaves, there is a predetermined consequence. Do not make exceptions, because exceptions become the new rule.

Pay attention to your child when he/she is behaving well; not just paying attention when he/she is misbehaving. Use positive reinforcement by praising your child for good behavior. It will motivate your child to continue with the good behavior.

Discipline is not synonymous of aggressiveness or yelling. What’s more: it is much more effective to discipline your child in a calm and loving way, since this teaches them that the best way to solve problems is by talking. You can discipline with love, but remember to be consistent and set limits.

Finally, do your own research on safe and healthy discipline practices. Websites, like Parents.com and Kidshealth.org offer recommendations on best discipline practices for different age groups.

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