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There are many facets to being a parent, with one of those facets including discipline. There are many misconceptions about what discipline is and what it is for, and we will cover those and how to effectively discipline your child here.

First and foremost, discipline is not obedience or even punishment. Discipline is the practice of teaching your child how to conduct themselves properly in the world. More than anything, discipline is about helping your child and guiding them through life. You are instilling values in them that will help them to be the best person they can be. Oftentimes, when parents focus on discipline, there is a notion that physical punishment or capital punishment is the equivalent of discipline. However, the Pediatric Association says that physical punishment is not only ineffective but also damaging. So, we will steer away from encouraging that here.

Instead, we are going to offer some effective tips below.

1. Set limits.

You have to be clear with your child on where your limits are. If they don’t know what boundaries are in place, they are going to do whatever they can get away with. As a parent, it’s your job to explain your expectations clearly and then continue to stand by them consistently.

2. Give consequences.

If your child doesn’t follow through with what they have been told to do, you need to have consequences in place. They don’t have to be extreme, but instead, ‘common-sense’ consequences tend to work best. Examples of this are, if they don’t clean their room, they can’t play with their toys. Or, if the color is on the wall, they have to clean it up.

3. Listen.

Listen to what your child is saying to you. If they aren’t doing what you have asked or listening to you, but they are trying to express a concern, it could help you listen. An example of this is if your child keeps getting into an argument or getting in trouble at school, there might be a reason for what is going on. Give them a chance to clear the air.

4. Model the right behavior.

You have to model the behavior you want. You can tell a child to do something the right way all you want, but if you are doing it the wrong way, chances are, they will too.

5. Encourage good behavior.

When you notice your child being good, encourage that. Praise them for their good behavior, so they will understand what you expect from them.

6. Pick your battles.

There is simply no way to constantly be on guard for your child to make a mistake. Not only will you say ‘no,’ become ineffective, it’s just impossible to be perfect with this. So, pick your battles. Choose what is worth the effort and let the rest go.

7. Understand your child’s limits.

Children have limits. You may want them to act perfect while you are out eating, but if they are one a one-year-old, chances are, that is beyond what they are capable of in their development.

8. Redirect them.

Knowing how to redirect your child can be a lifesaver. As an example, you may notice them jumping on the bed. A good redirection would be to say, “I see you are hyper today, let’s go outside to the trampoline to get some of that energy out.”

9. Co-regulation.

If your child is losing their mind, it’s time for co-regulation. Going into a lecture isn’t going to get you anywhere, so the best thing to do is calm them down. Pat them on the back, hug them, or rock them to calm them down. Then, you can address their behavior.

10. Stay consistent.

Consistency is the most important thing. Stick to a consistent routine. Keep the rules consistent. Keep the consequences consistent and be patient. They will get it.