Tools for Discipline

When children don’t behave our first reaction is to get mad.  But getting mad doesn’t help.

Years ago parents knew how to handle their children.  The prevailing wisdom was that if you spare the rod you would spoil the child.  So when many of today’s grandparents were children they felt the swift and firm consequence of their behavior with physical punishment.

Most experts now agree that strong physical punishment is neither advisable nor effective.  The problem is that today’s parents have not been given tools that are as swift, firm, speedy and as easy to execute, as a whipping was.  We have been told to use time out or to ground our children, but many parents have found time-out to be less than effective and have found that when they ground their child they ground themselves as well.

What people today  need are tools.  Parenting tools help parents guide their children’s behavior, keep parents in control and help alleviate responses that are impulse related, like hitting or yelling.

One tool that parents can use is to provide consequences for children’s behavior.  Often we think of consequences as punishments, but consequences can be good or bad.  A consequence for your son cleaning his room may be that he can watch his favorite show on TV.  A consequence for your daughter coming home late from her friend’s house may be that she has to come home a half hour earlier,or the length of time she was late, the next time.  Consequences that relate directly to their behavior teach children to shape their behavior to create the least discomfort or the highest reward.  Yelling at, or hitting your child, may control behavior, but it doesn’t teach children to manage their own behavior.

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