Child Discipline Punishment

Child discipline punishment what is more effective to help child behavior problems? The question I get asked the most is "Should I spank my child?" My response is what would be effective in helping change child behavior? Child discipline or child punishment? Is spanking child discipline or punishment? 

                       Should I spank my child?

Child discipline not punishment is effective in changing child behavior. Spanking is considered child punishment. Spanking a child will releases parental frustration and exert power over a child but will not effectively change child behavior especially in the long term. Spanking is not considered effective child discipline. Spanking can be considered child punishment and actually has a negative effect on changing a child’s negative behavior. 

Spanking your child can ….

Make your child’s behavior become aggressive 
Make your child’s behavior violent or non-empathic
Create physical and emotional harm to your child
 

Child discipline is about teaching your child a lesson - Child Punishment is about power and control .

Effective Child Discipline develops Self-Control, Self-Discipline and Empathy

Child discipline punishment is implemented with no thought or control. Child Discipline is administered with thought of how to teach your child a lesson and is one of the hardest part of parenting. Child discipline sets limits and boundaries with clear natural consequences to enforce. Remember that your child discipline uses strongly enforced rules, limits and boundaries to help your child feel safe in their home and to develop trust in your relationship. With that in mind below are some guidelines to follow that will help you develop effective child discipline not child discipline punishment. 

Use child discipline that is respectful to you and your child.

Child discipline punishment will belittle or shame your child into changing their behavior. Once you use child discipline punishment to get a reaction from your child stop and regain control. Negative words and physical action do not change child behavior. Remember that child discipline helps your child to develop self-control, self-discipline and empathy. If you lose control and use child discipline punishment with your child apologize and explain what lesson you were trying to help them learn or what fear you have if they continue their negative behavior. 

Define rules and boundaries

When using child discipline make sure that your child understands the rules and boundaries set. Don’t assume that just because you say it that he/she knows what you mean. Explain rules and consequences when you have your child’s full attention. Ask them to repeat what you said and what they understand your rules to mean. Do the same with the consequences they will receive. Discuss appropriate behavior expectations when both you and your child are calm and have time to clarify any misunderstanding. And always keep them as simple as possible. 

Be Consistent

Apply and enforce limits, boundaries or consequences that can easily be enforced. It is important to remember that child discipline punishment uses strict or harsh consequences, child discipline understands it is your ability to enforce the consequence you have stated, consistency that will help your child learn. Child Discipline Punishment uses Physical Force to control a child's behavior.If there is more than one person in charge of your child make sure all caretakers are applying and enforcing the same limits, boundaries and consequences. Consistency creates less stress for you and less negative reaction from your child trying to change your decision. Your child will learn that you mean what you say. Consistency will help your child develop self-control by abiding by the consequence set. It will also strengthen their feeling of safety and trust in your relationship. 

When it’s over it’s over.

Once your child has completed the consequence the situation is over. Continuing to remind them of what they did to deserve the consequence will turn your child discipline into child discipline punishment and your efforts to change their behavior will become ineffective. A short brief talk or asking for an apology for hurting another person can be discussed or used as part of the child discipline consequence. But remember to accept how they verbalize their feelings. Do not make them say sorry in a particular way or tell them that if they do that behavior again they will get back in trouble. That is setting them up for failure and will escalate their negative behavior. Be forgiving and help your child feel good about fulfilling their responsibility of completing the child discipline consequence and encourage them to return back to a positive activity or playtime. 

Be Gentle with yourself.

Parenting and building a relationship with your child takes a lifetime and allot of patience. Be gentle with criticism of yourself. If you lost control and used child discipline punishment or you were wrong in judgment of your child’s behavior and applied harsh consequence talk with your child. Always remember you are human first. Honest discussion with your child about your concern for their safety or your desire for their positive growth will show them your love and concern. Children are very forgiving. Your ability to talk with your child helps them to develop empathy. Applying positive child discipline through the years one day at a time will provide you with a positive parent child relationship. 

Apply the above guidelines of child discipline along with keeping the age of your child in mind. Understand that your child’s age and development provide them with the ability to follow through with what you ask. 

Child discipline punishment - Effective Guidelines along with Age Appropriate Rules, Boundaries and Consequences help your child develop personal responsibility and positive self-image.

When applying positive child discipline be consistent and know what stage of development your child is in. This allows you to have confidence that the consequences you enforce will be successful because you will know your child can effectively do what you ask. 

Child discipline punishment - Ages 0-2

Babies and toddlers are naturally curios. They are discovering a new world. During this stage of development it is easier to eliminate hazards than it is to constantly follow them around and remind them of “no-no”. Child proof their environment. This gives you peace of mind about their safety and gives your child the ability to develop self-confidence as they explore and grow.


Time out is effective for a toddler but apply discipline for behavior that is harmful to themselves or others. Set them in a quiet spot for one to two minutes. Remember toddlers cannot perform lengthy time-out effectively and your message of safety will be lost if the consequence is too elaborate.

Child discipline punishment - Ages 3-5

Your child should be starting to understand the rules of action and reaction. This is the best time to develop house rules and consequences for your family. Don’t forget to keep them few and simple. Focus on safety. Communicate with your child in simple terms. Communicate with your child the limits and boundaries that are being enforced with clear simple consequence.


Making a poster board to display with stars focusing on rewards for good behavior is effective for this stage of development.

Child discipline - Setting consequences with one, two three warnings to stop unwanted behavior is effective for your child during this age.

One - Ask your child to stop his/her behavior.

Two-If he/she doesn’t stop state the desired behavior again with the consequences.

Three-If they still do not comply, Do Not Speak, step into action and apply the consequence you stated.


Remember that children during this stage of development are still exploring their world. Allow them to make some mistakes by explaining to them why they cannot exhibit certain behavior and what will happen if they do it again. If the behavior occurs again then make sure to apply the consequence you stated.

Child discipline punishment - Ages 6-8

Trust and self-discipline are beginning to form during this stage of development. It is important to Make Promises That You Keep. These Promises are in regards to doing things, getting things or upholding consequences that you have predicted. Your child will remember what you said and hold you to your word. So pick your words carefully and act on what you say. Unrealistic boundaries, consequences or promises will take away your credibility to parent and deteriorate the trust in your growing relationship with your child.


Time out is still effective during this stage of development. But remember the rule of thumb to keep the amount of the time out to the age of the child. ( e.g. if your child is six years old, place them in time out for only six minutes. If they misbehave or get up before time-out is finished, time-out starts at zero until they have complied with a complete six minutes of time.) If you extend your child’s time-out for unruly periods of time your discipline turns in punishment. Your child’s ability to understand and integrate the reason for time out gets lost in punishment. Getting into a match of wills with your child will negatively affect their ability to learn self-control.

Never forget that discipline is a teaching a lesson to your child, Child discipline punishment is a power control game between parent and child.

Child discipline punishment - Ages 9-12

During this stage of development allow natural consequences begin to take a front seat to parental discipline. Always remember safety first when applying discipline, but also begin to stretch and discuss appropriate boundaries and limits with your child that will delve out a natural consequence for their non-compliance. A good example would be to let your child decide when they will complete their homework, but also let them take the consequence if they don’t follow through. Talking with your child about the consequence they received, understanding their feelings, helps them to develop empathy by example. Don't forget you still have the authority to set a house rule regarding final good grades and privileges. 

Do Not Get Caught In The Rescue Game. Let Your Child Learn From Their Mistakes. Life is Always the Best Teacher

Allowing natural consequences to kick in for your child will help them develop self-control and self-discipline. It will allow your child to begin to develop healthy independence and responsibility. 

Child discipline punishment - Ages 13 and Up

By this age your child will have the idea that what you say you mean and that you are the bottom line to all important decisions. Don’t be fooled by thinking that they want full control. Child discipline is still important. Teenagers want to have boundaries and limits to feel a sense of belonging and attachment. Setting rules as in other stages of development should be as few as possible and focus on safety. Curfew and use of goods will probably become paramount. Always listen to what your teenage has to say, be fair in letting them plead their case. But never give up your authority to make the final decision and as always set consequences that you can uphold. Make limits and consequences clear in your discussion by stating your point of view and what will happen if the rule is broken. Do not make this a point of power and control, just remember you are still the parent and there is no need to argue, just follow through with the stated action.The less talking the better.

During this stage of development commenting on your child’s positive attributes and behaviors as well and staying true to your word will increase their ability to apply self-control when they are with their peers. Do not become the enemy by entering into power struggles with them. Make clear rules, boundaries and consequences that you can carry through with confidence that your decision is the best for your child’s best interest. The less you talk or respond to the frustration you feel at their stage of development the better they will understand that you want them to grow into a responsible, confident adult.

Child discipline punishment - Know When To Go For Help?

Knowing when you need help with your child is always difficult to call. A good rule to follow is when you feel like you have tried everything or are becoming increasingly negative and angry with your child’s behavior seek help. Or when you lose control and use child discipline punishment to change your child's behavior. Seeking an outside view can show you something you are too close to see. Anytime you have questions about your child’s behavior or your use of child discipline punishment never be afraid to ask a professional. The more information you have only helps you be a better parent.see services for more information or help with child discipline punishment 

If you notice any of the following behaviors from your child seek help from a mental health professional.

·Ongoing disrespect for authorities, parents, teachers, and other adults.

·Aggressive or destructive behavior

·Signs of depression, feeling blue for a extended period of time, having no friends, or threatening suicide. 


If you are having difficulty with your child or your child is having behavior or emotional difficulty please call me at 708-730-2600 or email me at juliann@mychildtherapist.com  to schedule a free consult 

I provide online counseling through a secure confidential site this allows you to access me from the comfort of your home.  No need to worry about child care or babysitting.  Contact me at 708-730-2600 or juliann@mychildtherapist for a free consult to see if this would be helpful to you for your child


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