Disciplining your child

Disciplining your child

Sudha was really angry with Monty 4 year old kid.  She was tired of things he would probably purposely do to annoy her. This annoyance was more because she just could not handle him. There were times that she would really get irritated and give him a good beating. Although that would make her feel a little relieved for some time since the child would sober down for few moments, but then she would feel terribly guilt of the beating and would promise to herself that this would not repeat. Sudha really wanted someone who could make her child a better person to be with.

Your cute cuddly children often put you into trouble and check your patience at times. Here are a few tips that would help you tackle the situation aptly.


  • Let your child participate in the decision making process. This would help him feel important and sharpen his decision-making skills. When he is involved in the decision-making he is less likely to create trouble. Children as they grow up yearn for independence and that is the basic reason of frustration if it is not aptly given.
  • Keep your cool when s/he is becoming noisy. Children often try their tricks on you to gain hold over you. If you can maintain that mental balance then, 1.
    • You would be able to think straight and act rationally and
    • Your child would know s/he cannot play the power game with you.Understand, you beating him / her is an irrational act, primarily stemmed due to your frustration of inability to handle the situation. You being able to think rationally also saves you from making an error of giving physical punishment to your child.
  •  Assertiveness is the primary ingredient to disciplining. By this you get a message across to your child that everything he wishes wouldn’t happen. This increases his frustration tolerance level and also you reaffirm your strength in your self.
  • Confidence in your self is a must. That way your children develop faith in you. You may not be always right but it is better being confident and wrong than being under-confident and right. Chances are good enough that you are right most of the times.
  • Punishment should be given only with discretion. Physical punishment should be avoided. Time out concept is now being known to be effective in handling your child when s/he is being difficult.


About Punishment: When, What, and How of Punishment:

  1. Punishment should convey to the child that the act is undesirable not the child. Say “I did not like what you did” rather than saying “I do not like you.”
  2. Be consistent in punishing every time the act occurs. If the same behaviour you find cute at one time and you get angry at the second time, then it will in no way stop the behaviour. The child will be in a dilemma as to, whether or not to behave in a particular way.
  3. The punishment should be age appropriate and situation appropriate.
  4. Avoid withdrawing concessions which you have already promised before the unwanted act. You may however refuse to give any further gifts or concessions only temporarily.
  5. The punishment should be act appropriate. You cannot withdraw all the concessions given to him because he refuses to run a small errand for you.
  6. The gap between the punishment and the act should be almost immediate. If you cannot punish the child right away, then you can at the most, let your child know that you dislike the behaviour. By keeping minimum gap between the act and the punishment you let the child associate punishment with the act that you dislike.
  7. Reason out with your child at times when it is required why he cannot behave the way he did. However if s/he refuses to listen then you have to put your foot down and stop any further reasoning, at least temporarily.
  8. Try different ways of reinforcing a particular behaviour,
  • Sometimes by giving positive reinforcement like praising him/her. As far as possible avoid giving materialistic gifts. However to start with you can even start with that and slowly proceed to non – materialistic ways of positive reinforcement e.g. Patting him, letting him know he / she had done good work.
  • By negatively reinforcing him. By withdrawing praise or concessions given to her/him.
  • When it is the first time your child has behaved in an inappropriate way, see that you do not punish him/her. This is because you need to be sure before punishing your child that s/he knows the behaviour is undesirable. Also at that point let him know what is desirable.


We as parent need to understand that our children, although our own, they are different individuals born with their own personalities and makeup. Some points we need to ponder about:

  • As we want to get across them that their wishes might not happen every time, this is also applicable to us,
  •  We also need to increase our frustration tolerance levels if we are expecting that from a child who is many years younger to us.
  • We need to be tolerant of different behaviors and attitudes even if it means it comes from our own child.
  • We need to trust them as individuals with the ability of their own. We should not ideally interfere every incident, unless the behavior is harmful to them or to others in some way.
  • You cannot make decisions for him at every juncture of life, you cannot make black and white decisions as to right and wrong behaviors. You have to empower him to make his own decisions.