A New Attitude: Updating Your Discipline Techniques

Choose Meaningful Consequences.

Kids this age can appreciate the idea of "if... then" ("If I don't take the garbage out on time, then the kitchen will get smelly"), so they're ready for discipline that involves consequences. The idea of fairness is important to them, so keep that in mind when you impose a penalty. "Try to choose something that fits the 'crime' -- so if your child ignores repeated requests to turn down the TV, simply turn it off," advises Thomas Phelan, Ph.D., author of 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12. If she broke her grandmother's figurine and then fibbed about it, have her save up allowance or earn money through extra chores to pay for a new one. Don't be surprised if she tries to negotiate her way out of discipline, though. "Before you deliver a consequence, be clear in your mind whether it's negotiable," says Dr. Sparrow. In some cases, you might even get your child's input. For example, if you want her to make amends for ignoring a promise to spend time with her sister, you could ask if she'd prefer to give up an outing with her friends or have her sister join. But if the misbehavior involves a serious infraction, like hitting or lying, stand your ground with a calm but firm message: "This isn't negotiable."

Related Links

Parents Are Talking

Add a Comment