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Discipline Tips for Parents - The Formula All Parents Need

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Does your child's behavior ever embarrass you? What would you do if she stole a precious treasure? Today I'm going to share a personal story, but first you need to know the Discipline Formula you can start using today. And finally, we'll practice a simple exercise for using that formula

The Discipline Formula for Parents:

What's the opposite of not kind? Did you answer, "Kind?"
Do you know the opposite of not firm? Was your answer, "Firm?"
Finally, what's the opposite of inconsistent? Did you say, "Consistent?"

Congratulations! You've just answered the 3 questions for the Discipline Formula.


Be kind.
Be firm.
Be consistent.

Being kind, firm, and consistent is the easiest, oldest, and best discipline formula I know for raising happy, well-adjusted children. I first found this formula decades ago in a book entitled, The Rational Management of Children by Paul Hauck. It's been my guide ever since.

My Personal Discipline Story:

One day I told my 4-year old Scott the story of George Washington. When his father called out, "Who cut down my cherry tree?" George answered, "Father, I cannot tell a lie. I did."

Later I took Scott with me to Fred Meyers to buy groceries. When we arrived home, Scott went out to play in the woods behind our house. Later he came in and said, "Mom, I found a buried treasure!"

"You did? What is it?" From behind his back he held up a bright shiny key.


"Where did you get that key, Scott?" I asked.
"In the woods," he answered.
"Scott, where did you get that key?"
"Behind our house," he said. Again I asked,
"Scott, where did you get that key?"
"I got it at Fred Meyers in the key department."

My Teaching Moment:

I nodded then walked away. ‘This is a teaching moment,' I thought. I asked myself 3 questions:


How can I be kind?
How can I be firm?
How can I be consistent with the values I'm teaching Scott?

I knew what to do. I called out, "Scott, let's get in the car!" As we were backing out our driveway, Scott asked, "Where are we going, Mom?" "To Fred Meyers," I answered.


Scott burst into tears, sobbing and shrieking.
"What's the matter, Scott," I asked. Tearfully, he whined,
"George Washington didn't get punished!"
Scott did return the key.

Discipline Formula Exercise:

Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Picture a time you disciplined one of your children and you regretted what you said or did. Notice your feelings during the disciplining.

Take 3 more deep breaths. Now watch yourself disciplining your child in the same situation. Be kind. Be firm. Be consistent.

Open your eyes. Did the first or second discipline feel better?

I know there are parents who will ask, "Are you crazy? I'm not going to be kind when my child needs a scolding."

My answer, Being unkind, not firm, and inconsistent is the best formula for creating angry disrespectful kids. Why? The time will come when they yell back at you. We can do better.

Conclusion for the Discipline Formula for Parents:

Parents, don't waste time feeling embarrassed by your child's behavior. Use your teaching moments to teach your values. How?

Ask yourself these 3 questions:


How can I be kind?
How can I be firm?
How can I be consistent?

When you answer those 3 questions, you'll know what to do. You can train your kids to do the right thing by using this Discipline Formula. I know you can. You'll be building character too.

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Jean Tracy, MSS invites you to pick up her e-book, Discipline Tips for Parents with 41 specific solutions for 41 common behaviors. If you do, you'll get the love and respect you deserve. You'll be raising children with character too.

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