Punishment Is Not Abuse: Ten Discipline Tips

Punishment required. Cartoon

When it seems the little ones and not so little ones are out to get you the time has come to discipline and probably even punish. These tips might help.

Discipline Tips

First tip: You are the person responsible for teaching right from wrong. 

Matters not what others teach or how you are related to the child when you are interacting with the child you are the one responsible for teaching . Except when the parents are in charge which is in their house, but in my house, my rules.

Second tip: Keep the rules simple. Safety; respect for self, others, all living things, and property; obey reasonable laws. Respect means following both versions of the Golden Rule whether religious or not: treat others the way you want to be treated; do not do to others what you do not want done to you.

Third tip: Punishment is not a dirty word. Not punishing gives permission to do wrong and is almost as big a problem as too harsh punishments.

The official definition of punishment is something bad happens after doing something someone else does not like. This means withholding praise or a smile is a punishment. The trick is always to make the punishment fit the crime.

Fourth tip: Teaching right from wrong starts as soon as the child starts walking. The best source of parenting advice for this age is Thomas Phelan’s One, Two, Three Magic . One and two serve as warnings, three is punishment, usually a timeout.

Fifth tip: When your child enters adolescence, let go. Thomas Gordon’s Parent Effectiveness Training  focuses on letting go and letting life teach.

Learning to avoid Gotcha Wars and part of letting go. Here is a Wikihow I started on that subject

Sixth tip: Talk less. Both Phelan and Gordon say actions are more important than words. A good book for helping you talk less is The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard.

Seventh tip: Allow as much choice as possible. We all want to feel we choose our way. Choice empowers. Starting offering choices as soon as your child starts walking and talking, but choice should be on-going.

How do you offer choice? “This cookie or that one, your choice.”“Do you want to watch TV or go for a walk with me?” “Are you doing your chores or letting me keep your allowance? Your choice.” “Obey” or “Timeout.” “Homework or bad grades?”

Warning: make certain the choices are ones you can live with.

Eighth tip: Follow John Gottmean’s “Five to One Rule.” Gottman discovered that to overcome one negative encounter in a relationship five positives encounters were required. Why smiles, praise, thank yous, fun time, and sharing healthy laughs matter.

Ninth tip: Good enough beats perfection when it comes to living the good life.  Praise effort, honor good intentions, forgive mistakes – yours and your child’s.

Tenth tip: Remember what matters.  It might be time to buy and read my eBook Know Your Mission So You Can Reach Your Goals. 


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These links are for those not familiar with Emotional intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness. 


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