A roundup of top parenting advice about kids and discipline. Learn how to discipline a child and build a strong relationship with your children.
If you’re like me, you face both the joys and the challenges of parenthood. Maybe you’re fed up with your child’s outbursts and wonder how many tantrums are too many. You want to address his behavior with empathy and patience rather than through punishment. You want to lessen fighting as well as equip your child with the skills to prevent arguments in the first place.
You’ve tried time-outs. Counting to three before they’re really in trouble. Maybe you’ve lost your temper. Except nothing is working, at least in the long run. You continue to butt heads—and you’re exhausted with having to deal with yet another day of disciplining.
And here’s why: we’ve got this discipline thing all wrong. We assume discipline is about punishment, or we assume it’s what we need to take away from them to curb misbehavior. We mistakenly believe that the main purpose of discipline is to stop tantrums and outbursts at all costs, as quickly as possible.
What discipline means
Let’s get to the real definition of discipline: discipline is teaching our kids.
Because isn’t that what parenting really is? Our job is to arm them with the skills they need and would serve them well in the future so they grow into kind adults who can regulate emotions or empathize with others.
They’ll be adults who treat others with respect and don’t expect the world to bow down to their wishes. The kind of person you’d want your child to eventually grow up to be.
Before your child even misbehaves, take a look at effective ways to prevent and understand your child’s misbehavior:
- We’ve Got Discipline All Wrong: When you think of discipline, you might imagine punishment and time outs. Learn what discipline for kids REALLY means and improve your relationship with your children.
- A Better but Not Always Easier Alternative to Timeouts: Looking for a better alternative to timeout? Putting your child in time out isn’t effective and misses key learning moments. Try this alternative instead.
- One Sure Way to Prevent Misbehavior in Children: Parenting would be so much easier if we could prevent misbehavior from even starting. Turns out, we can. Here’s one sure way to prevent misbehavior in children.
- Be Choosy with What’s Off Limits: Feel like you tell your child no all the time? Don’t fight with your kids over everything. Instead, be choosy when setting limits with children to avoid struggles.
- THIS Is Why Your Child Is Testing You: We often hear that our kids test us when they misbehave. They test cause and effect and consequences, but THIS is also why your child is testing you.
- Help Your Child WANT to Behave—Even when No One Is Looking: Wouldn’t it be great if children behaved because they wanted to? Learn how to raise kids who WANT to behave, even when no one is looking.
- How to Be the “Bad Guy” and Still Parent Effectively: Do you feel like you’re squashing the fun for being strict and holding your ground? Learn how to be the bad guy in parenting while being loving.
- How to Avoid Saying Empty Threats: How many times have you threatened your kids with a consequence, only to not actually enforce it? Learn how to avoid empty threats for better behavior.
- The Difference between Distraction and Redirection: You’ve likely used distraction to curb your child’s behavior, but you may find that it backfires. Learn why redirecting children’s behavior is a better option to discipline a child.
- The Biggest Reason Parents Should Stand Their Ground: It’s tough for parents to enforce rules when kids throw a tantrum. But find out the one big reason parents should stand their ground.
- Get Kids to Obey by Using Positive Language: The best way for kids to obey isn’t by telling them “no” all the time, but to say “yes.” Here’s how to get kids to obey with positive language.
- Remember to Praise Your Child’s Positive Behavior: Are you focusing too much on negative actions and not on your child’s positive ones? Here’s why it’s important to praise your child’s positive behavior.
How to discipline a child
No amount of parenting tips can fully prevent misbehavior. They’ll happen, all right. Now that you’re better equipped with knowing why they happen, how can you best manage them when they do?
I write a lot about discipline both on the blog and in my book, Parenting with Purpose. Below are the top tips on how to discipline your child effectively and with intention.
- How to Discipline a Toddler Who Deliberately Disobeys: What do you do when your toddler disobeys on purpose? Learn how to discipline a toddler who won’t listen.
- One Question You Should Always Ask before You Discipline Your Child: When your child misbehaves, is your first reaction to get mad? Learn what to ask before disciplining your child with this one simple question.
- One Unusual Way to Stop Kids Whining: Can’t get your children to stop whining? Learn one unusual but effective way to handle a whiny toddler and strengthen your relationship with your child too!
- How to Stop Your Child from Whining and Speak Politely Instead: Tired of hearing your child whine all the time? Encourage her to communicate better! Here are practical tips on how to stop your child from whining and speak politely.
- Set Boundaries — Kids Actually Want Them: Raising great kids means setting limits and holding your ground. Learn why kids want boundaries — and how you can set them.
- How to Set Limits with Your Baby (And Almost Toddler): Struggling with setting limits with a baby? Encourage her curiosity while establishing boundaries to keep her safe as she begins to explore.
- What to Do when Your Child Disrespects You: Tired of the disrespectful way your child talks back to you? Learn what to do about disrespectful children and how to rebuild your relationship.
- 5 Things You Need to Do to Handle Your Threenager: Disciplining a three-year-old can be a challenge. Here are 5 effective ways to handle a threenager, no matter how strong-willed your child may be.
- A Simple Solution to Tantrums Every Parent Should Learn: Tantrums are some of the most challenging experiences, for both parents and kids. Discover effective ways to manage toddler temper tantrums, meltdowns and outbursts.
- Your Cheat Sheet Guide to Handling Tantrums: Struggling with your child’s tantrums? Get a quick guide to handling tantrums and learn what to do when they happen.
- Parenting Your Strong Willed Child: Parenting your strong willed child can be a challenge for many moms and dads. But with simple techniques, you can turn difficult situations around.
- Why Time Outs Don’t Work (And What to Do Instead): Do time outs really work? Many parents use time outs to discipline, but here’s why time outs don’t work and what to do instead.
- Why You Need to Follow Through with Consequences (and How to Actually Do It): Struggling with your child’s behavior? Learn why you need to follow through with consequences (and tips on how to stand your ground).
- 9 Warning Signs You’re Raising a Spoiled Child: Struggling with your child’s behavior? Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’re guilty of spoiling. Here are 9 warning signs you’re raising a spoiled child.
- “Respect the No”: 3 Reasons to Listen When Your Child Says No: Tired of when your child says no all the time? Before you ignore your children’s no’s, consider these three reasons to listen—and respect— them when your child says no.
How to discipline without losing your temper
Your child’s behavior can trigger your anger. Learn how to keep your cool and remain patient, even when your child is misbehaving:
- One Technique to Finally Stop Yelling at Your Kids: Getting mad at your children isn’t good for you or your kids. Don’t lose your temper and learn how to stop yelling at your kids with this one effective technique.
- 4 Things to Remember When You Get Angry at Your Child: Do you find yourself disciplining your child non-stop? Learn anger management for parents and remember these 4 things when you get upset at your children.
- Why Spanking Your Child Isn’t Necessary (And What to Do Instead): There’s no need to resort to spanking. Here’s why spanking your child isn’t necessary to discipline and instill good behavior (and what to do instead).
Effective communication for better discipline
What we say to our kids can make all the difference. Learn how to craft your words and responses to make discipline more effective:
- How to Respond to Your Child’s Anger: Dealing with meltdowns can be difficult, but it’s during these times your angry child NEEDS you. Here are strategies to help you handle it.
- Why You Shouldn’t Tell Your Child to Stop Crying: Listening to your children cry can be frustrating, but should you tell your child to stop crying? Discover 3 compelling reasons not to.
- How to Respond to Your Child’s Hurtful Words: Your sweet, angelic child has suddenly said mean things to you. Here’s how to respond when your child says hurtful words.
- How to Stop Kids from Talking Back to You: Are you embarrassed with the way your child talks back to you? Here’s how to stop kids from talking back to you and build a strong relationship instead.
- What to Do when You Tell Your Kids No Too Often: Do you feel like the “mean parent” for telling your kids not to do this or that? Here’s what to do when you’re telling your child no too often.
- Acknowledge Kids’ Motives When They Misbehave: Acknowledge kids’ motives and realize they aren’t always trying to drive us crazy. They’re exploring and discovering their world in ways they know how.
- How Teaching Feelings and Emotions Reduces Misbehavior: Struggling with getting your child to listen? Learn how teaching feelings reduces children’s misbehavior, and how you can apply this in your daily life.
Disciplining your child in public
Learning how to manage your child’s behavior is hard enough. What do you do when you’re out and about, or in the public view? Take a look at how to handle your child’s behavior in public:
- The One Mistake You’re Probably Making when Your Child Misbehaves in Front of Others: Do you know what to do when your child misbehaves in front of others? See the one mistake you may not even know you’re making.
- What to Do when Your Kids Don’t Listen to You in Public: Do you spend every family outing managing misbehaving kids? Learn what to do when kids don’t listen in public so you can enjoy your time together.
How to discipline social conflict
Sometimes your child’s behavior affects those around him, from siblings to friends and even strangers. Discover how to tread social conflict while still providing your child an opportunity to learn from the experience.
- How to Stop Your Toddler from Hitting: Even though hitting is normal for infants and toddlers, dealing with it can be tough. Discover how to stop your toddler hitting other children and adults.
- How to Stop Siblings from Fighting and Teach Conflict Resolution Instead: Tired of the constant squabbles between your kids? Here’s how to stop siblings from fighting and teach them to resolve their conflicts cooperatively.