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Discipline, a Bad Word ~ Way to Go Mom 2020!

Discipline, a Bad Word

It has been a while since we have spoken about discipline,a bad word or so it seems. Times have changed and so has discipline. The line from the Bible says,”Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Now physical discipline is considered bad for a child. This is probably because so many have used corporal punishment in anger or to the extreme. It can easily turn into abuse so it is safe to stay away from it. However, discipline does not need to be corporal punishment or even negative consequences.

Is there a time for corporal punishment?

Use corporal punishment sparingly.  A paddle on the bottom may work when a child is not listening after being warmed several times. Get a child’s attention  with it so he or she will not do the dangerous crime again such as leaning or playing close to a creek or running in the road. We want the child to be fearful and never do these things again. Try reasoning with the child and he or she may never need corporal punishment.

Limit physical punishment to a moderate paddle on the butt with your hand. Do not hit a child or wrestle with intent to hurt.  Poor discipline can breed fear and hate. Don’t hurt your relationship with physical punishment.

Anger also hurts relationships. Corporal punishment in anger is very dangerous and rarely fixes things.  Try time out for the child and the parent.  Step back and consider what is a good consequence for a the child’s actions.  You can even consider asking the child, “What do you think is fair?  What should we do about this?”

What discipline should I use?

Discipline does not have to be negative. Practice using positively reinforcement for good behavior with compliments, comments, hugs and kisses, points on a chart, or even rewards of money or items being earned. You can get more positive results from sunshine than storm, as the parable says.  Remember that discipline is to encourage proper behavior and not to retaliate.

Use punishment only after conversation and warnings do not work. Set ground rules ahead of time and decide what consequence will be. A common punishment is time out in a place that is  not enjoyable like away from other kids, toys, or fun activities.  This doesn’t work for all children as some enjoy being alone. Try to minimize yelling at the child as he or she may tune out. Talk in a normal tone of voice and say, ” I’m sorry. this is what you did so this is the consequence.”

Point charts or their variation are good positive and negative discipline selections combined.  Give points, tallies, stars, or stickers for positive behavior.  Sometimes, points can be taken away if bad choices are made. At a previously decided amount, the child can earn a prize.  It can be money, a toy, or an outing. These can be used for chores, bedtime, teeth brushing, breaking a bad habit, coming home on time, or any number of  accomplishments.  Do not overlook the value of the reward of  time spent with a parent.

Grounding Child or Time out for Item

A comparable easy consequence is to take away a valued item that is being misused.  Video games or the TV that are overused can be taken away until the child does chores or gets outside for some exercise. Toys that are used as weapons or not shared can be put up.  Bikes left on the driveway can be lost for a time.  Remember that children will have a hard time sharing new birthday presents, so you should politely put them up for later. Losing driving privileges is often a threat that works for teenagers.

Grounding works for older children who value time with friends and away from home. Do not be unreasonable with grounding and make it too long for the crime. Avoid taking away special occasions such as birthday celebrations, family gatherings, or class parties.

Be consistent with discipline.  If you let actions off the hook once, a child may work on getting around punishment.  Especially watch out for equal treatment of siblings.  Kids will react quickly if treated unfairly.


When it comes to teens, choose your battles.  Longer hair and loud music may be annoying to adults, but is it so much safer than drugs or drinking.  Allow your teen to be his or her self and respect him or her in conversation and opinions.  Set rules on those things that are important and agree on consequences ahead of time.  

Allow teens more choice in free time and activities.  You can discuss with them the choices that are dangerous or off limits but let them have some say in the discipline for doing wrong.  Be consistent.  They need to learn that life has consequences when bad choices are made.  Sometimes the consequences of actions are the best teachers so don’t protect them.  An example is spending allowance too quickly and not saving for a larger item or a more special event.

In conclusion, discipline helps a child learn what to do and how to act.  Each child is different, so learn what works to reinforce good behavior.  Keep in mind that protection and learning good habits are the results we strive for. We should never punish for retaliation or to inflict harm.  After consequences, show extra love.


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