When the time-out routine stops working on your 10-year-old child, you need to dole out a new type of discipline. He's not yet a teen -- but he's no longer a baby, either, which means you need to employ strategies that are geared toward his stage of development.
Children this age are starting to take on more responsibility and they want to explore their own worlds; as a result, they sometimes act out when things don't go their way. Some parents choose to combat that by asserting more authority when homework doesn't get done, rooms are left dirty or a special event is overlooked. The other option is to give your 10-year-old a little more control of her own, which appeals to her budding sense of independence. This hands-off tactic may be painful to watch, but she's unlikely to learn true responsibility until she has to suffer the consequences of failing to follow through on something that was in her court.
Talking through a problem may be more beneficial that it ever has been before. Your child likely has a highly developed vocabulary at this point -- which, granted, she may use to back-talk. It's OK to let her "talk" through some things, but then counter that with concrete reasons why the thing she did was wrong. Then have a discussion about what type of punishment she can expect next time she does the same thing, either with or without her input. Establish the rules for good behavior, then follow through with the consequence the next time she does that same thing, advises Parents magazine.
Children this age may develop quite a temper -- which brings up another less-than-pleasant part of parenting a 10-year-old: those outbursts can cause you to lose your own temper. You can't expect your child to keep her cool when you're always losing yours -- so work on walking away as part of your discipline plan, advises The University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Instead of blowing up, tell her you're taking a break to cool off. You're less likely to dole out punishments that may be painful for you to enforce if you take a breather -- and you'll be teaching her the valuable skill of de-escalation.
Obeying the golden rule to "treat others how you would want to be treated" is a good reminder for you as you deal with her, and for her as she deals with the outside world. Ten-year-old children are still deeply invested in a sense of fairness -- which includes fairness coming from you. You don't have to be her best friend, but don't adopt a strategy that involves unjust consequences or treats her disrespectfully.
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