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Updated: January 16, 2013 9:15 AM | By DINA ROTH PORT
17 Discipline Mistakes Even Smart Parents Make

From bribing your kids to throwing your own tantrum, we've all had low moments when it comes to trying to get our kids to behave. Here are the most common discipline mistakes parents make -- and how you can avoid them.

Not Following Through (© SOREN HALD/STONE/GETTY)
  • Not Following Through (© SOREN HALD/STONE/GETTY)
  • Forgetting Your Child's Developmental Age (© ANGELA AUCLAIRFLICKR/GETTY)
  • Playing Good Cop/Bad Cop (© R.NELSON/FLICKR/GETTY)
  • Leaving Out the Learning Lesson (© BARRY ROSENTHAL/TAXI/GETTY)
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Not Following Through

If you tell your child he's not allowed to watch TV if he doesn't clean up his room, but then you cave in and let him do it anyway, you're only going to confuse him. You have to follow through every time, experts say. "When parents don't follow through, they send the child a double message: 'Sometimes we mean what we say and sometimes we don't,'" explains Carl Pickhardt, Ph.D, a psychologist in Austin, Texas and author of The Everything Parent's Guide to Positive Discipline. Many kids, especially those who are strong-willed, will often bet that you don't if that's worked in the past. However, if you keep your word and actually, say, unplug the TV for the day, your child will realize, "Hey, Mom's not kidding around -- I'd better behave." For that reason, it's best not to make any threats you'd never stick with, like "No Christmas this year."

Jan 19, 2013 12:39AM
I agree with pretty much everything in this article... except for not giving praise ... maybe I give praise differently than other parents ,but when I tell my son I am so proud of him for doing something for the first time.. I always will say "I am so proud you helped mommy sweep the kitchen, now we have a nice clean floor" ... I dont see any problem with this as my son is really proud of himself as well.
Jan 19, 2013 4:15PM
Kids are humans, not monkeys, for Heaven's sake.
Stop treating them as if they were retarded. When you give your child a "Don't!" command she will know exactly what you don't want to be done, if she is of age. If she is not of age, then it is not worthy explaining because she won't understand.
"Wait until your father comes home!" is surely not the way to go, but; "When your father gets home, we are going to discuss how to handle this." what is the kid supposed to do? Collect all Data, prepare a Powerpoint Presentation and be ready to give a briefing?
Discipline doesn't have to be a contest about who outsmarts who, but the child will always challenge you. It's up to you, assuming you are smarter then your kid, when it's time to stop the smart-Alec behavior, hopping you don't need to take the whole day to figure it out.
Very sadly, there are a few parents out there that shouldn't had been given the blessing of procreation.
The discipline that was given at home is then destroyed in school.
The key is to be a good role model.
Jan 19, 2013 9:55PM
Parents as well as educators should keep in mind that there is a difference between discipline and punishment. Children especially younger ones have very basic and uncomplicated needs. (as they grow older they can be more difficult and complex as they try to understand and function in the adult world).  But they all need:
1. to be fed and hydrated. Many tantrums stem from hungry, thirsty, tired children.
2. to be clean especially with their diapers and underclothes to avoid rushes that hurt.
3. to be warm and well rested
4. to be safe and secure; this is accomplished by caring, nurturing, hugging, reassuring, understanding, and and support
5. to be listened to and attended to. If the parent is busy s/he can acknowledge the child and say something like "just a moment please, i will finish this and be with you in a minute".
6. to feel valued by praise and acknowledgement of good behavior words and deeds.
7. To be respected and treated with dignity even if s/he is two or three years old and does not understand the concept. S/he will feel it and perceive it. 

If a child is misbehaving the chances are s/he is lacking in one of the above. Talking to him or her gently and with respect to discover the need or hurt and taking care of it will most likely diffuse the situation and foster love, respect, and comradeship.

Above all, parent should never make the child's behavior personal. Let him/her know that while you do not approve of the behavior at all you still love him/her. S/he will always be your "baby" but you like him or her better when s/he behaves properly. In other words, separate the doer from the deed and keep your cool.

Jan 19, 2013 5:14PM
One thing I did with my children that have them really disciplined was taking the toys, games and video games later for a specific period of time which vary depending on how severe their behaviour was. Results were great and they are very successful in their life and they built great careers. No need to spank. Just take things he loves to play with. 
Jan 19, 2013 11:18PM

When our youngest child was still in diapers and in a crib she could have 45 minute temper tantrums.  Brutal.  Our tack was a warning if she didn't stop screaming she would go into her crib.   If the tantrum continued, she went into the crib and we would leave and close the door and she could scream it out.  When she quieted down we would go in and ask if she was ready to come out.  She was usually ready. 


Once of the things my wife and I agreed on early on in our parenting life was that we wouldn't make a threat we weren't prepared to keep.  There were times when following through was incredibly inconvenient but we did it anyway.  Now, both of our daughters have learned that we mean what we say.  That was probably the biggest thing for us. 


Myy wife and I took my eldest daughter into a restuarant (aged 2 or 3 at the time, she's now 14) and we insisted she sit in the provided highchair as we didn't want her getting down from the table and running around disturbing the other folks.  She refused to go into the chair and I warned her that if she didn't sit in the chair she and I would go sit in the car until she was prepared to cooperate.  It took three two trips to the car while my wife sat in the restaurant (enjoying the peace and quiet I presume, lol) before my toddler got the message.  She then sat quietly through the meal and ate her food without any more difficulties.   When she was older she used to tell her younger sister that she better listen because mommy and daddy do what they say. 

Jan 19, 2013 8:09PM

Do we really need "experts" to give us this advice?

It kinda sounds like common sense to me.

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