Do's and Don'ts of Discipline

Effective ways to correct your child and things to avoid.

5 Basic Methods for Managing Children's Behavior

  1. Mild social disapproval with disapproving facial and verbal expressions of low-intensity
  2. Time out
  3. Ignoring the child or withdrawal of attention
  4. Behavior-specific praise accompanied by smiles, affection, and positive statements
  5. Establishing a rewards and incentives program

Courtesy of the Confident Parenting Program

Positive Discipline Strategies

  • Encourage mature behavior
  • Try compromising and problem solving when children misbehave
  • Provide reasons for rules
  • Reduce opportunities for children's misbehavior
  • Allow children to participate in family routines and duties
  • Use misbehavior as opportunities to teach children

Corporal Punishment: Useful or Harmful?

There is a huge debate on the topic of corporal punishment. Studies show that corporal punishment models aggression as a way to resolve conflicts and is related to increased aggression in children. Spanking has been linked to substance abuse, depression, and increased risk of crime and violence in older children. The more harsh punishment a child experiences, then the more likely they will show mental health, behavior, and academic problems in the future. A major fear is that frequent use of corporal punishment can lead to child abuse.

On the other hand, corporal punishment paired with a warm, loving, and affectionate parent-child relationship can be an effective means of discipline.

Best Forms of Discipline

  • Time out: Children have an opportunity to change their behavior and it gives frustrated parents a moment to cool off.
  • Withdrawal of privileges: Taking away a treat, such as electronics, allows parents to avoid harsh punishment techniques.

Aspects of the Parent-Child Relationship that Promotes Positive Behavior

  • Parental warmth and affection
  • Providing consistency in discipline and with the child's routines
  • Respecting the child
  • Listening and negotiating to enhance compliance
  • Providing positive attention on a regular basis
  • Allowing children to make their own decisions when appropriate
  • Promoting children to express their feelings
  • Parents modeling appropriate behavior for children


Berk, Laura E. (2010). Development Through the Lifespan. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Flaskerud, J. H. (2011). Discipline and effective parenting. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 32(1), 82-84. doi:10.3109/01612840.2010.498078