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Your darling two year old just looked at you and told you no bath, your rebelious teen just told you they are going out no matter what you say. What do you do? Yell, scream, throw things, or apply some effective discipline?

First look at family rules, and the age of the child. A two year old says 'no' as a game. They don't truly understand no yet. It gets said to them alot and they are still trying to understand the language. So for the most part, put your two year old in the tub and ignore the no. The teen is testing the rules. Why aren't they allowed out tonight? If you have a valid reason, most teens will understand. If you don't you might need to evaluate why you are saying no to going out. If they are not willing to listen you will have to be tough, but fair. Leaving with out permission is running away, are you willing to report your teen as a run-a-way. If they take your car, you are also looking at felony charges for car theft.

Effective discipline is a matter of getting your point across, quickly and as painlessly as possible for you and your child. A two year old being stood in the corner for two minutes will quickly learn that when a parent says no, they mean no. A teen on the other hand is not going to tolerate being stood in a corner. Although I must qualify that, sometimes allowing 'time out' and cooling off will cause the teen to think about the behavior that is causing distress and correct it.

A two year old would not understand removal of priviliges, but a teen would. A nine year old understands having to write a hundred lines, while a thirteen year old is more likely to understand writing a two thousand word essay on the unacceptable behavior and what would have been more appropriate.

You know your child better than anyone else. What do they dislike doing, what do they like? Make your decisions based upon your child. If you have a child who likes to write, an essay is not going to work, but that same child may hate to mow the grass, or weed the garden.

You will also need to make your discipline fit the infraction. Having a child write 100 times I will do my chores right afterschool is probably not effective, but, having them do extra chores would be.

Spanking, whipping, slapping, pinching, punching or any other method of hitting is not effective. It teaches fear, and how to hit those smaller/weaker than them. It is also illegal in most places. Sometimes putting yourself in timeout is also effective. Leave the room, and think about what would be most appropriate, not what would you like to do.

Being a parent is never easy, neither is it a popularity contest. Your child may not appreciate your teaching them correct behavior now, but when they have children of their own they will be far more appreciative. Try to remember children are tax deductions.