Posts Tagged ‘ discipline ’

Would You Discipline Another Parent’s Child?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

boy-throwing-tantrumThis past weekend, I found myself heading out of town on one of those long bus rides made infinitely longer by a child who lacked discipline.  The child, a 10-year-old boy, sat behind me and proceeded to kick the back of my chair (incessant thump thump thumps) every 5 minutes for each hour (and there were long, long hours) we sat on the bus.  The child also whined, made fun of, and talked back to his mom throughout the entire ride.

What bothered me most besides the child’s spoiled behavior was the mom’s inability to discipline her son.   With every complaint, the mom would bend to her son’s will and try to appease him; when he threw a tantrum after not getting an ice cream cone, she gave up after 5 minutes and bought him a treat.  She couldn’t bear disappointing him or having him stay mad at her.  The child’s dad looked the other way, never saying a word either.

While I thought of a million ways I could discipline the child, I never said a word to the mom or to the child. Unfortunately, she was also a casual family acquaintance…and not having a child myself, I decided to avoid an awkward situation by choosing to grin and bear it.  This got me thinking how Parents readers would handle disciplining other people’s children.  I’m sure you’ve all been in a situation (whether it’s on a bus or a plane) when another parent’s child is driving you crazy.  Would you talk to the child directly or to the parent?  How would you handle any unbearable situation?

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Is Hot Sauce Mother Blameless?

Friday, February 4th, 2011

hot-sauceThe latest update on hot sauce mama Jessica Beagley is her claim that Dr. Phil’s producers asked her to produce the video of hot sauce and cold showers.

In an AP article, Beagley’s attorney revealed that the mom originally filmed a video of her threatening  the children with cold showers, but no action was taken.  The producers wanted to see the actual discipline demonstrated on film, hence the more controversial video.   In defense, a spokesperson from Dr. Phil’s show said the producers asked that Beagley stop her discipline tactics after seeing the disturbing video. asks: “What’s worse — that they asked her, or that she agreed?  …Ultimately, the victim is Beagley’s son, who never had a choice about whether he’d be on TV in the first place.”

As a parent, would you have made the video knowing you might get a chance to appear on Dr. Phil’s show?

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Would You Discipline Your Child with Hot Sauce?

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Jessica Beagley, who recently became known as the mother who forced her son to swallow hot sauce and take cold showers, was charged with misdemeanor child abuse today by a court in Anchorage, Alaska. 

Beagley first appeared on the “Mommy Confessions” episode of Dr. Phil in November 2010.  During the segment, she shared a video that her 10-year-old daughter taped of Beagley disciplining one of her 7-year-old twin sons with the above-mentioned tactics.  Even though she was not present in court, her team of lawyers pleaded “not guilty” on her behalf. 

While some support the hot sauce method, such as former “Facts of Life” start Lisa Whelchel who advocates it in her parenting book Creative Correction, the majority of parents who saw Beagley’s video were shocked and horrified at her discipline tactics.  A media firestorm has increased since November, causing parents to wonder how to discipline their children effectively. 

I’m reminded of a time when I was 4-years-old and I was still sucking my right thumb.  To get me to stop, my grandmother rubbed a chili pepper against my thumb.  While my grandmother wasn’t being cruel or trying to discipline me, she chose a specific method to help me break a “bad” habit.  Just one taste and needless to say, I never sucked my thumb again.   Thankfully, I escaped childhood without being traumatized from chili peppers, but Beagley’s son may grow up fearing hot sauce.

No parent wants to resort to cruel and unusual punishments to stop misbehaviors.  But even though some parents have the best intentions to discipline without yelling and spanking, no amount of time outs or distractions seem to work.  We’re certainly not advocating for hot sauce or chili peppers as a means of tough love, but as parents, we want to hear your thoughts on discipline. How do you discipline your child in a positive way? What are some no-fail discipline tactics you use?  What are the ones you would never use? Share in the comments section below.

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Children with Self-Control May Become Successful Adults

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

disciplineIf your 3-year-old shows remarkable self-control, congratulations: Your child will most likely become a successful adult.

A New Zealand study recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences involved scientists following 1,000 children from birth to adulthood.  The study analyzed the children’s “health, wealth, family and criminal status when the participants reached age 32, then looked for correlations between the self-control score and these outcomes, correcting, for I.Q. and socioeconomic status” (

The study revealed that children who displayed self-control at 3-years-old made less bad judgments when they were teens, such as smoking cigarettes, taking drugs, dropping out of school, and getting pregnant.  According to ScienceDaily, self-control was defined by factors such as a child’s threshold for tolerance, persistence in sticking with and executing goals, ability to think before acting, and patience in waiting.  Children who either learned or grew up teaching themselves discipline and self-control had a better future that didn’t include credit card debts, substance abuse, or low self-esteem. 

So instead of just natural intelligence, self-control can be important in propeling children to success.

Does your child have good self-control? What parenting tips do you have to help your kids to be more disciplined?

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Need Help Disciplining Your Toddler?

Monday, July 26th, 2010

We’re looking for families to participate in an upcoming story about toddlers and discipline. We’re pretty psyched about this article because we’re collaborating with pediatrician and Parents advisor Harvey Karp, M.D. You may know Dr. Karp as the author of the mega-popular Happiest Baby on the Block. He’s also written The Happiest Toddler on the Block, and it’s stuffed with very practical, doable tips on dealing with your wild little one. I desperately need those tips, because I have a very headstrong 23-month-old little girl. (That’s her in the photo.) She’s quite different from her older sister, so my usual bag of discipline tricks have been wildly ineffective. A few months back, in preparation for a visit to our offices by Dr. Karp, I captured a few minutes of Lila doing her thing on video. I showed Dr. Karp the footage, and he was able to instantly prescribe all kinds of new tactics for my husband and me to try (which, I’m happy to say, actually work). He also gave me insight into my daughter’s mindset, and even offered some kind words of praise about her personality.

That’s what we’re aiming for with our article. We’ll need a few families across the country to submit a quick video of their child in action, so that Dr. Karp can offer personalized advice on how to get him or her to stop whining/throwing/tantruming/you name it. Your details will be printed in the magazine, but trust us—we’re not out to make any parent or child look bad. The goal is to help the many, many other families who are dealing with the same issues. If you’re interested in finding out more, please email me at with the following information:

Your name

Your hometown

Your child’s name and birthdate

Your biggest discipline issue

If you’re not up for going public, keep an eye out for the story in an upcoming issue. I guarantee Dr. Karp’s advice will help you!

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In Praise of “Food As Reward”

Friday, January 15th, 2010

JuliaCoatMy daughter Julia, who’s 4 and in PreK, has asked me every morning this week, “How many more days until Friday?” (That’s her at right.) She’s out of her mind excited for today because her teacher is throwing the class a “Zip-Up Party.” It’s official: All 20 students can zip their coats by themselves. (This is reason for my daughter’s teacher and the aides to party—the coat, hat, and mitten process can take them close to 20 minutes to complete.) The kids’ long-promised prize? A big dose of pride… and a box of Munchkins. I’m not kidding myself; Julia’s most psyched for a little donut. But that zipper is a pain—it’s the kind that has two pull tabs—and she feels really good about herself for having mastered it. I know there’s a lot of debate among parents and experts over the concept of rewarding accomplishments with food, but I’m here to say that in this case, it worked. Do you believe in giving your child a treat as a prize (or incentive) for a job well done? Curious to hear your thoughts.

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