10 Effective Discipline Techniques For Children

- | 59 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Family & Parenting

Mother use effective disciplining techniques with her son

Have you ever thought about the effective discipline techniques for children that really work? Here are some positive discipline techniques that I know help in disciplining children without punishing them.

Really, you don’t have to spank or punish children to discipline them! That’s something I see some parents do. Today’s post is an effort to discuss the various discipline techniques for kids that work.

It’s not that you’re not good as a parent. But I think we aren’t the perfect parents and there’s always some scope of learning new things and techniques to better our parenting, right?

I don’t think any of us went to a school for parenting.

So, sometimes when parenting become challenging, we are often hard on ourselves as we think we are alone and need to come up with the perfect solution when our child misbehaves. Sound familiar?

But it’s not about finding the perfect solution, rather finding effective ways that will mean something to your child. And you’re surely not alone in your quest.

Every parent is worried about how to discipline their child so that they are well-behaved at home and in public.

No one wants to be accused of raising spoiled brats or undisciplined children, especially those who don’t listen to you.

Don’t you want the same for your kids? Or wasn’t it something your parents wanted from you when you were a child? If so, this post should concern each one of you 🙂

“Discipline is a symbol of caring to a child. Discipline is guidance. If there is love, there is no such thing as being too tough with a child.” ~ Bette Davis

Let’s start by first understanding the meaning of discipline.

What is Discipline

Literally, discipline is a system of rules of conduct or method of practice. It is about developing one’s behavior by instruction and practice. It’s about learning or teaching self-control.

Discipline teaches your child to follow rules. It doesn’t mean punishing children when they do something wrong. Instead, it means to teach and train your child from understanding the right from wrong.

It’s the process of teaching your child about what type of behavior is satisfactory and what is not satisfactory.

The most important factor in disciplining your child is how you talk to them as this in turn teaches them how to talk to others and respect them.

The most common ways of disciplining techniques used by parents may involve a time out and light punishments, and even rewards, which are most important.

So, effective discipline in children is important for –

• Teaching kids values
• Teaching kids to care and understand others
• Teaching kids self-direction and self-control
• Helping kids to develop a sense of responsibility
• Protecting kids from danger and helping them to feel safe and secure
• Helping them to adjust well and be happy

Child angry with disciplining mother

Importance of Discipline in Children

As every child is diverse with different temperaments, the way a parent disciplines him or her would differ too.

Parents need to consider the age and developmental levels of their child while disciplining them.

Some parents use discipline techniques like fear, force, intimidation, and punishment to discipline their kids – even for their small kids!

However, research indicates that these are not effective discipline techniques for children and may even harm them. Results show that some kids become bitter, furious, and dependent on force.

Some children even manipulate parents when they are faced with ineffective discipline techniques.

Studies show that parents who use effective discipline techniques raise children who are well-adjusted, self-controlled, self-reliant, and positive.

Effective parenting doesn’t need physical force to discipline kids.

“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.” ~ Plato

Instead, if parents set well-defined rules and explain why the rules are important, and provide consequences that are understandable, it works well.

Parenting Style

What is your parenting style? Well, your method of disciplining will depend on that. In general, there are three kinds of parents:

Authoritative Parent who is affectionate toward his or her child, and has very clear expectations and consequences. It’s the most effective form of parenting. Such parents are flexible and make efforts to solve the problem with the child, especially with behavioral challenges.

Authoritarian Parent show less affection towards his or her child though has clear consequences and expectations. Such a parent might say things like, “because I’m the Daddy, that’s why” to show authority. It’s a less effective form of parenting.

Permissive Parent provides little discipline but show lots of affection towards his or her child. This is also a less effective form of parenting.

Yes, your parenting style matters. What kind of a parent are you? If you want to know and learn more about the most effective parenting style, I’d written this post that you’d love to read.

Effective Discipline Techniques For Children

The discipline techniques you choose would depend on your child’s age, the type of behavior your child displays, your child’s temperament, and your parenting style.

Here are a few recommended techniques –

1- Create Diversions

If your child is less than a year in age, you shouldn’t ideally be thinking of disciplining your child!

However, parents need to tell their kids what to do and what not to do so that they don’t harm themselves.

For example, parents use the word “no” mostly when babies start crawling and get into things like chords or other things, which is natural curiosity.

In such cases, you can get your child’s attention by calling his or her name, offer a toy to play with, or make a funny sound – anything that diverts or distracts the child’s attention.

Kids this age are easily distracted, so you can easily do that without using harsh tones with them.

2- Reward Good Behavior

Ask me, this works at any stage your child is in! Parents need to reward their child after he or she has done something good, so that the child is encouraged to repeat that behavior.

Some parents don’t realize the importance of rewarding their kids for their good behavior, which can work like magic. So, become a better parent and encourage your kids more.

Give a pat on the back of your child, compliment and praise him or her to show it’s the behavior you want.

It should not be mixed up with bribing a child, which is given beforehand to motivate your child to do things that you want – both are very different.

Kids who are bribed tend to learn to manipulate their parents and work their way to gain more bribes. Some work only when they are bribed and not otherwise. Bribing should be avoided.

Some parents even give points for good behavior and reduce points for bad behavior. My parents did that when I was young, and it made me do good things mainly to gain more good points all the time.

At the end of say a month, if you had more points, you are rewarded for your good behavior. 🙂

“Loving discipline encourages a child to respect other people and live as a responsible, constructive citizen.” ~ Dr. James Dobson

3- Don’t Expect Perfection

No one is perfect, and it’s unrealistic to expect your child to be well behaved always. If you expect it so, it might stress your child and he or she might misbehave just to ease the tension.

For example, don’t expect or ask your child to share his or her toys when a friend visits. Some kids might share, but generally, most young ones are very possessive at this stage.

Instead, you can keep away the most precious toys aside before the friends arrive, which will make him or her feel comfortable sharing the toys.

So, set specific, realistic, and limited goals to help your child so that you and your child both succeed.

4- Natural and Logical Consequences

What are your instant reactions when a child does something wrong? Don’t you let your child experience the result of that behavior instantly, and most of the times it’s pretty bad, isn’t it?

Some parents start lecturing their child instantly, which you don’t have to because there are other effective parenting techniques you can use like consequence.

There are two types of consequences – natural and logical.

Talking of natural consequences, these are the time when you let your child know what will happen if he or she doesn’t behave – the main concept is to let nature runs its course where appropriate.

For example, if a child deliberately breaks a toy or loses it, the toy is no longer there to play with. Or if a child leaves a book in school, he or she might be punished the next day for not completing the homework.

Or a child who teases a dog and gets bitten or scratched, learns not to do it again. Though the punishment is immediate, small, and associated with the cat, it makes the lesson easy to remember.

The other kind is the unacceptable or logical consequence, which are linked to the behavior of the child. These are times when you’d have to play a part and create a consequence.

Explain to your child that the consequences are for bad behavior, and mean what you say. Be firm without screaming and yelling!

For example, tell your child that he or she doesn’t clear the room – he or she will not be allowed to play for 3 days. Missing out on a bedtime story or a car drive can make the child really behave!

Father using spanking to discipline kid

5- Avoid Physical Punishment

Parents need to remember that corporal or physical punishment like hitting and spanking can harm your kids.

Spanking can become violent at times and harm a child – it can also cause them to fear their parents.

It teaches them that they can hit or spank when they are angry too. A child may think that it’s alright to physically hurt someone you love – they learn the wrong lesson.

Research indicates that spanking may encourage anger, aggression, and frustration in children and is an ineffective discipline techniques, best to be avoided.

For parents looking for helpful information and alternatives to spanking, you could check out the Center for Effective Discipline (www.stophitting.com) and Project NoSpank (www.nospank.net).

6- Present Alternatives

Be a role model and show your child the alternative behavior that you want your child to change.

For example, if your child is yelling, demonstrate as to how he or she can speak quietly and in a good manner.

Don’t use ineffective discipline techniques of punishment as they don’t teach the child what he or she should be doing – there are no alternatives there.

“To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while.” ~ Josh Billings

7- Introduce Time Outs

Time outs also known as “thinking time”, work well when you need a break from your child’s behavior or when you know what wrong the child did.

It a break from the tension of the present moment and involves physically removing your child from a problematic situation. Time outs shouldn’t last longer than five minutes.

You need to make sure you have such a fixed place well beforehand. It should be a boring and quiet place, and you should ignore your child till he or she is calm and quiet.

Such a place should not be the bedroom where the child can play, neither a dangerous place like a bathroom and other such area.

Lead your child to a chair away from toys and the play area, and explain that he or she needs to stay there till he or she calms down.

Once your child is calm and ready to talk, ask why he or she was misbehaving. It helps your child recognize and deal with his or her feelings.

Give your child a hug in the end, so that your child knows you were unhappy with the behavior, not with your child.

Such an effective discipline technique works well for kids who are around 2 years of age or older, once they are old enough to understand the purpose of a time out.

Most young kids respond well with this discipline technique because separation from their parents is something they don’t like.

However, don’t threaten time-outs, nor think of them as punishments. They are just to be taken as a short cooling-off period and are most effective when your child needs a change of mood.

Parents need a time-out too! I know I do sometimes! 🙂

8- Use Grounding

I’m sure most of you already use this method!

This is another effective discipline technique for school going kids and teenagers, where you restrict your child to a certain place, like his or her room as a way to punish him or her.

For example, grounding your child on a Sunday night as punishment for breaking rules on Saturday about something you didn’t like.

Father using positive way of disciplining child

9- Reinforce The Positive

Positive reinforcement is better and more powerful than punishment or negative reinforcement.

Small rewards like an ice cream treat or car ride can be more effective than big rewards, like a promise of a bicycle. Kids might stop trying if they feel they can’t earn the big reward that has been offered.

If your child does something good – don’t forget to praise him or her. Make your praise specific and focused on your child’s behavior.

For example, “Wow, you are such a smart child – what good grades you’ve got in your exams!” Such specific praises help a child to evaluate his or her own achievement.

“Children need encouragement like plants need water.” ~ Rudolf Dreikurs

10- Take Away Privileges

At times there isn’t a logical consequence for a bad behavior, and sometimes you just don’t have the time to think it through.

In such cases, another effective discipline technique for children for unacceptable behavior is to take away a privilege.

Your child should learn that privileges come with responsibility and he or she needs to earn it. This technique is effective only when it’s used occasionally.

For example, if your child doesn’t complete his or her homework in time, you might take away the privilege of watching television for the day.

Such child discipline technique works best if the privilege is something the child values, if it’s related in some way to the behavior, and if it’s taken away as soon as the inappropriate behavior occurs.

“Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them.” ~ Bill Ayers

Your child will grow and develop trust from you, if he or she feels loved and secure. Effective discipline techniques can help to encourage your child’s trust in you.

Your child needs rules and consequences, and perhaps acts out if there are too few or too many of them.

If you lay out clearly how you expect your child’s behavior to be and ensure those expectations are enforced consistently, your child feels that he or she can depend on you to keep him or her safe.

I think the key to good and effective discipline technique is to be flexible. Parents should have the ability to use a variety of approaches and disciplinary techniques, especially if some don’t work.

Don’t try to focus on too many things all the time as that might make you and your child miserable. Remember, you have enough time to discipline your child.

You’d love this video on how to discipline children – check it out 🙂


Parenting Tips – How to Discipline Children ~ YouTube Video

Also, keep your words simple when you correct your child, so that they’re understood. Mockery and sarcasm will not work with young kids; instead, focus on one thing at a time to get the best out of them.

You need to ask yourself whether you own behavior is teaching your child the type of things you want him or her to learn. Remember, the most effective discipline technique of all is setting a good example.

“The best bought-up children are those who have seen their parents as they are. Hypocrisy is not the first duty of a parent.” ~ George B. Shaw

Parenting isn’t easy at times – and as I’ve said in my earlier posts, it’s both a challenging and rewarding experience. Yes, at times the behavior of your kids often makes it harder.

You’d love to read a lovely guest post Carolyn had written long back about keeping calm when things get tough – “Don’t Get On That Train”.

Good parenting is more difficult when both the parents are not on the “same page” about the way of parenting, or when there’s a single parent.

But as parents, our job is to teach our children the right way to behave. It’s our work to make our kids more civilized so they become caring, loving, and responsible adults. Thus, we need to do what it takes!

So, are you ready to use these techniques to discipline your child? Then go ahead, what are you waiting for. 🙂

Over to you

When you were a child, what kind of discipline technique did your parents use? Do you think these effective discipline techniques for children are good, or do you have more suggestions? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


Photo Credit: Freedigitalphotos

Show Comments

59 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Jenn McKay

    2015-06-22 at 7:32 am

    I love this article, Harleena. Right on point. I believe that everything is fluid, and for me, modelling is an amazing way to foster compassion for self for the children. I easily admit my mistakes and apologize. I also do this to foster a compassionate relationship between parent and children. And I believe strongly in positive reinforcement and natural consequences. These things seem to work best in my house. But I’m grateful there are many other options to choose from when a certain situation warrants a different method. Thank you for this great post.

  2. gurvi

    2014-10-29 at 12:05 pm

    Hello Harleena ma’am,
    You have defined the definition of Discipline very well. Very true that for living a systematic life you need discipline in your and in your child.I like the classification of parenting style, it is necessary to do self evaluation because first we have to be in discipline then only we can teach the child.
    Thanks for the amazing post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

1 + 8 =

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

10 Effective Discipline Techniques For Children

Send this to a friend