Enforce the Consequence
"If the motto of real estate is 'Location, location, location,' the motto of parenting is 'Consistency, consistency, consistency,' "Dr. Donovan says. "The child's mind is completely logical, and it tells her, 'If Mom and Dad don't follow through, they don't mean it.'" The idea is to have very few rules but to enforce them every single time. So don't make idle threats that you can't or won't carry out. You know what we mean: You're grounded for life; that's the last cookie you'll ever see; no playdates for a month. You'll not only upset your child but ultimately undermine your authority.
When all is said and done, the 60-Second Plan is very simple, but it does require a great deal of thought about your goals and an equal amount of self-control. Why is that important? Because good discipline is about much more than not throwing food on the floor and not writing on the furniture. You are conveying your values and showing you have the self-discipline that you're trying to teach your child.
Copyright © 2004. Reprinted with permission from the January 2003 issue of Parents magazine.
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.