16 worst discipline mistakes you can make

The next time junior acts up, avoid making these discipline no-nos while you guide him to behaving better.


When you discipline a child, you are showing him what good behaviour is, while laying down firm boundaries and expectations. Your ultimate goal ― to teach “self discipline”, where he will learn to make good choices for himself.
          To guide him towards positive behaviour, you will need to set the rules, and follow through on consequences when these rules are broken. Check this list to find out if you are making any discipline missteps.

1. Throwing your own tantrum

Rein in your own anger before you attempt to discipline. Yelling does not make your child listen to you ― in fact, he’ll simply tune you out. Kids can also get desensitised quickly to yelling. If you constantly raise your voice at your child, he can become immune to it, so the desired effect is lost. Bring your message across in a better way ― bring yourself down to his eye level and make your point firmly and in a controlled manner. When you explain things in a loving manner, your child will understand that while there’ll be consequences to bad behaviour, you will love him, no matter what.

2. Calling up past incidents

If your child fought with the neighbour’s kid the last time they were on a playdate, don’t assume that he’ll do it again. What was intended as a fun visit might end up awkward just because he is embarrassed by your remark. Leave the past in the past and trust him to have learnt his lesson from the previous incident.

3. Making a judgement call when you aren’t sure of the facts

The munchkins are fighting again ― this time, your older son is clutching a toy train, while little sis is sprawled on the floor in tears. It’s easy to assume that big bro had snatched the toy and is in the wrong, but if you aren’t sure, don’t make the call. Instead, remove the object of contention and focus on teaching both siblings to learn to share and take turns, as well as forgive one another.

When you nag, your little one is learning how to function in reaction to you, instead of learning responsibility.

4. Threatening and not following through

If you threaten to take away TV-time if your little one hasn’t finished his homework, but don’t follow through with the threat, he’ll quickly learn that you aren’t serious about implementing what you’d promised. Why should he ― since he knows that he will get his reward whether or not he behaves appropriately? Threaten to take away privileges only if you’re prepared to follow through on the consequences.

5. Nagging

In trying to keep calm and not lash out in anger, you often find yourself repeating and repeating yourself. So, instead of trying to get junior to make his bed for the umpteenth time, get his attention before you speak. If this involves standing in front of a TV, or gently removing his toy from play, do it. And tell him why he has to listen to you ― “Please make the bed, so you’ll have a tidy room to come back to at the end of the day.” When you nag, your little one is learning how to function in reaction to you, instead of learning responsibility.

Does a time out work for your child? Read on to find out why, or why not.