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Discipline Tips for Parents

  1. Set a good example. You are role models for your children. For example, if you want to teach your child that physical violence is not the way to resolve conflicts or problems, then don't use physical punishment.

  2. Set limits, but be careful not to impose too many rules. Before making a rule, ask yourself: Is it necessary? Does the rule protect a child's health and safety? Does it protect the rights or property of others? Too many rules are hard, if not impossible, to enforce.

  3. Keep rules simple and understandable.

  4. Involve children as much as possible in making family rules. They are less likely to break rules that they have helped establish.

  5. Help your child understand rules and what happens when they are broken. If you and your 4-year-old agree that he shouldn't cross the street alone, and he breaks this rule, be ready to enforce the consequences.

  6. Be flexible. Some rules may work when a child is young, but as children get older, they need and want more independence. Remember, not all children respond in the same way.

  7. Help your child develop self-control. Young children do not have the self-control needed to follow all the rules all of the time. A 5-year-old may not have the self-control needed not to take a cookie from the cookie jar before dinner. To help the child resist, a parent can move the cookie jar out of sight or offer a snack that is allowed.

  8. Tell a child about behavior that is annoying to you, or others.

  9. Act quickly when a child misbehaves. Don't let a problem build up over time.

  10. Be consistent. Agree with other family members on methods of discipline. This way a child always knows what will happen if he or she does not follow the rules.

  11. Praise a child for good behavior and accomplishments. Let the child know you appreciate his or her efforts.

  12. Avoid power struggles with your children. Discipline is not a game in which there is a winner and a loser. You expect cooperation from your child and your child expects you to be fair. Respect your child enough to allow disagreements at times.

  13. Offer positive suggestions. Avoid criticism and nagging. Criticism and nagging can cause your child to become resentful or angry or develop low self-esteem.

  14. Encourage independence and responsibility.

  15. Keep your sense of humor.

  16. Tell your children how much you love them. When they misbehave let them know it is their behavior that you dislike, not them!!!

© By the National PTA

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