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Creative Ways to Teach Your Child Discipline

by Samantha Kemp, studioD

Discipline...what a nasty taste in the mouth this word makes. Although few dream of imparting harsh lessons on a child's life, discipline is a necessary part of effectively raising a child. However, corporal punishment, time-outs and grounding are not the only ways to teach your child self-control and responsibility. A more creative approach may be able to get the job done with fewer tears along the way.

Never Say No

According to renowned child pediatrician, Dr. Sears, "no" is a powerful word that if heard too often, may make your child lack self-discipline. Instead, try rephrasing the denial in a more positive manner. For example, if your child asks for a treat, you can say "Yes, after dinner" instead of "No, not right now." If your child is climbing over the furniture, it may be best to redirect her attention at the park instead of constantly telling her not to play rough in the house.


While time-out is a common form of discipline, time-in is a newer version. The concept is to have your child hold your hand or sit beside you while he calms down. This strategy gives him more attention and doesn't isolate him for poor behavior.

Reward System

Sticker charts and other reward systems approach discipline by encouraging positive behavior instead of focusing on negative behavior. Use fake money to pay your kids for doing their chores or exercising other actions you want to see. After they have accumulated so much money, they can trade it in for a small toy or quality time with parents spent watching a movie, playing a board game or going on a free outing.

Give Choices

Giving kids choices can help them feel empowered. For example, if you anticipate your child may be upset when going shopping because she doesn't get the unhealthy snack she wants, you can offer her two or three healthier options. If she doesn't want to clean her room, you can ask her whether she wants to go to the park or watch a movie after she finishes cleaning.

Communicate with Your Child

Sometimes, kids just need to be heard. If you are having a problem communicating with your child, get down to his level and maintain eye contact. Talk to him slowly and calmly to show that you are in control. Repeat back what he said to show that you understand and acknowledge his feelings about a tough situation.

Keep Your Child Busy

A bored child is a recipe for success. Give your kid plenty of one-on-one attention. Play with him or have him complete part of a project that you are working on. Kids love to help out mom and dad and accepting your child's help may keep him out of trouble.

Play a Game

Many discipline problems arise when a parent asks a child to do something he doesn't want to do. Instead of causing fights, make a game out of tasks that may cause problems. Play races, sing songs and be animated when making requests of your child.

About the Author

Samantha Kemp is a lawyer for a general practice firm. She has been writing professionally since 2009. Her articles focus on legal issues, personal finance, business and education. Kemp acquired her JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. She also has degrees in economics and business and teaching.

Photo Credits

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