Health Library

Categories > Relationships > Raising healthy kids

A positive payoff

You’ll become a better parent by relying on these positive child discipline ideas:

  • Keep your cool. Screaming at your kids teaches that anger solves problems. Stay calm but firm. Or count to 10 first—then sort out the problem.
  • Call a time-out. Sending your child to a bedroom or other neutral area buys both of you time to solve problems calmly. Rule of thumb: one minute of time-out for each year of age.
  • Mean what you say. When children misbehave, patiently remind them of the consequences. Then follow through if necessary—firmly, calmly and exactly. This way, your child will learn to respect limits.
  • Have them see through your “I’s.” Browbeating Johnny about his latest failing (“What’s wrong with you?”) only triggers shame and defensiveness. Instead, use nonattacking “I” statements to convey your message: “I’m angry because I told you not to run in the house, and now the lamp’s broken.”
  • Don’t just say no. Give choices. Example: “No, I don’t want you to have candy now. But you can go play with your friends or use the computer until dinner time.” Your child will learn decision making and how to weigh choices.
  • Thank goodness. By praising good behavior you’ll give your child the positive attention he or she craves. And you’ll build your child’s self-esteem and confidence in being able to do things right.