Does time out no longer work for you? Effective discipline is, at times, a game of trial and error. The trick, ultimately, is to pay attention to the discipline strategies that work best for your family, so that you can repeat them. If you're out of ideas, try one of these tried-and-true discipline strategies. And if you've had success with a new technique, use the form below to share it with our readers.
Note: To ask a question about child discipline, please visit the Single Parents' Forum.
Discipline for My 15- and 5-Year-Olds
- I have found that the best discipline strategy for my 15-year-old is simply removing access to his TV, phone, video games, and social activities for 3-4 days. Most importantly, on day one, we sit down and discuss why the behavior was inappropriate and why discipline was needed. This prevents him from repeating the offense. For the 5-year-old (who has ADHD), the best strategy is simply using time out. Again, the most important step is immediately discussing with him what he did wrong, and why he is being disciplined. Also, I prefer to use the word "disciplined" rather than "punished" with him. His attention span is very short. Therefore, the discussion occurs immediately once he settles down at time out. Time out is also used immediately when he becomes hyper and overly active. The key to that is to break that unproductive cycle, so that he can calm down and regroup his thoughts and activities.
Single Raising a Son
- It's so true - it really is trial and error! I have had to let go of some of my own tensions and anxieties to model calmness and reservation when doling out the 'non-negotiables'.
- —Guest Ms Mila
The time-out strategy worked for me.
- I am a classroom teacher, and I adopted the time out strategy for classroom control. It worked and is still working for me. Thanks a million for a job well-done.
- —Guest Favour
My Very Latest Little Success
- I have 2 boys who used to get into a true "frenzy" of rough play just before bedtime, when I barely had the energy to control them. Then I started putting the younger one to bed much earlier. I'd feed him a light snack at 6 pm, and help him wash up, and then put him to bed with a story. He falls asleep around 7 pm. I also started telling the boys that I'm taking a short nap from 3:30-4 pm. Then I get up and give them a small sweet. This short rest makes such a huge difference! I'm much more fit to handle the evening routine, PLUS it turns out my youngest was overtired, which contributed to his uncontrollable behavior, Now he's much happier AND my eldest gets a story and is MUCH more cooperative, relaxed, and happy! And now the younger one can wake up much more easily in the mornings, which makes it finally possible to also have nice mornings instead of a frantic rush!. I'm just SO pleased about these changes, I actually find myself FREE before 8 pm!