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Discipline Tips for Parents ~ 3 Mistakes and 3 Solutions

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Good discipline builds character in kids. Poor discipline does not. Notice the manipulation in the story below.

Imagine your son returning his report card to his teacher saying, "My dad told me, ‘If these grades don't improve, someone around here is going to get a spanking.'" And as he passes the report card across the desk, he whispers, "Teacher, it's you."

Today I'll share why child discipline is so important and the discipline formula you can use to build character. You won't be spanking either.

Before I do, you need to know that parents who don't discipline effectively make big mistakes.

First Discipline Mistake – Being a Doormat by Letting Kids Walk on You

I once counseled a mother whose 14 year-old daughter told me, "I hate that stupid..." She called her mother the "b" word. Earlier her mother had told me, "I don't know why she disrespects me. I give her everything she wants. I'm always trying to please her."

To build character, what did the mother need to learn?

Second Discipline Mistake – Being a Dictator Who Gives Orders and Lectures

I remember a dad who lectured his son for hours. The boy would roll his eyes and tap his fingers. "Stop that!" yelled his dad who then preached louder and longer.

To build character, what did his father need to learn?

Third Discipline Mistake – Being a Despot Who Threatens with Unreasonable Consequences

Another dad screamed at his daughter, "You can't use the phone for 6 months." But he couldn't control his daughter's phone use when he wasn't home. He had loaded his guns with cotton balls.

To build character, what did he need to learn?

My Discipline Story:

When I was a little girl, my older brother had been in a rock fight. I was there hiding behind a bush. Screaming filled the air as the other boy ran home to his mother. That night she knocked on our door. "Anthony only needed 3 stitches," she said. "I want you to know that he's alright."

When the door closed, my dad spanked my brother and then pointed to me. "I didn't do it, Daddy," I cried. I got a spanking anyway. That memory sparked my interest in discipline, fair discipline.

For over 22 years, I've helped parents discipline effectively. I can help you too.

The 3 Discipline Solutions - The Discipline Formula


1. Be kind.
2. Be firm.
3. Be consistent.

But how? Some parenting experts say the same thing but they don't tell you how to be kind, firm, and consistent.

Kevin's Discipline Story

Let's say, your Kevin is home alone because you're a single working parent. As you walk through the door from work, the TV shouts, "This game gives you hours of fun!" There's Kevin eating chips on the couch. When he sees you, he yells and points to the TV.


"Hey mom, can I have that game?"
"Did you do your homework?"
"Homework's boring."
"Turn off the TV."
"Do I have to?"

What would you do if you were Kevin's mom?

As a Parent, You Have Discipline Choices. Consider These 3 Solutions

Monitoring Kevin's homework is difficult because you can't be home right after school. And because you can't supervise his homework before you come home, I suggest you wait until you've been home for awhile.

First Solution - Grab a cup of tea. Tell Kevin to turn off the TV. If you need to, stand between Kevin and the TV. Say nothing until he turns it off. That's being firm.

Second Solution - Then get into the routine of sharing snacks with him while you relax and tell each other how your day went. That's being kind.

Third Solution - Next, give Kevin some choices. Choices promote power. Ask Kevin, "Do you want to do your homework before dinner or after you wash the dishes?"

Only give 2 choices. Whatever he chooses becomes part of his daily routine. His grades will improve too. That's being consistent.

Conclusion for Disciplining Your Kids

There you have it. Be kind. Be firm. Be consistent. There's no need to be a doormat, lecture like a dictator, or threaten like a despot.

If you follow these steps, you'll experience fewer arguments, more fun, and more respect. You'll feel loved by your kids, peace in your home, and confident in your parenting skills. You'll be building character too.

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Feel free to use this article in your newsletters, magazines, and blogs as long as you include the information below:

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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