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How to Discipline an 8-Year-Old Boy

by Lisa Walker

As your 8-year-old grows, you might feel your parenting skills have to be speedily updated. Issuing requests in a stern voice is probably not enough any more and his increasing independence might foster behavior you are not used to dealing with. Have a strategy so you can find the right response in the heat of the moment.

Forms of Punishment

You can withdraw a treat or privilege as a result of bad behavior. This might be taking away some pocket money, not allowing TV or computer time that day, or canceling a trip to the park or a day out. It is ideal if the punishment fits the infraction. For example, the computer is banned for the rest of the day because he shouted at you while playing it.

Your son is old enough to understand the concept of consequences, so you can make him deal with the fallout of any bad behavior. For example, if he doesn't do as he is told to get ready, make him miss his club or activity. If he is playing with a ball in the home when he shouldn't be and knocks something over, make him clear it up and help pay for the damage. If he refuses to do his homework, consider letting him suffer the consequences at school.

Time-out is a punishment you likely used when your son was a toddler, but it can still work. Send him away to think about his actions after he displays bad behavior. Australian parenting expert and author Michael Grose points out that 8-year-old boys are eager to please their parents so this strategy is likely to work. Time-out also allows you both to calm down and prevents you getting sucked into a big battle.

Carrying Out Punishment

Once your 8-year-old son is aware of your punishments, it's often enough just to warn him. When you ask him to tidy his room, remind him that the last time he refused to do this, the computer games you found on the floor were confiscated. He will also feel more fairly treated if he is given a warning and the opportunity to improve his behavior before any punishment is given.

Choose a punishment that is effective and fair. Your son might not care if you ban a trip to the park when he actually wanted to stay at home and play his computer game anyway. In the book, "Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys," authors Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson also warn against giving punishments that are too harsh because boys tend to rebel against that and their behavior might worsen.

If you make a threat, carry it out. It won't take long for your son to realize that you never take his pocket money away or restrict his TV time when you threaten to do so. Don't make empty threats. Also, avoid making unrealistic threats such as, "I am never letting you go to football practice again."

Tip

  • Ask your son how he thinks you should deal with his bad behavior with questions such as, "What do you think should happen because you have eaten all those cookies without asking?"

Warning

  • Supervise your son while he's clearing up messes to ensure he's doing it safely.

About the Author

Lisa Walker began her journalism career in local newspapers. She later joined Teletext to work on its website and analogue and digital TV services. Walker spent time as a qualified childminder whilst raising her own two children and now enjoys a career writing and editing for various websites, including parent website Surreymummy.com.

Photo Credits

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