Think of discipline as a way to guide and teach your child about positive ways to behave. A parenting style that works well is one that uses discipline proactively. The goal is to use techniques that encourage your child's sense of responsibility, nurture self-esteem, and strengthen your relationship with your child. This may involve setting limits, explaining why a certain behaviour is wrong and what can be done instead, discussing values, and using distraction, time-out, and natural and logical consequences.
No one technique of discipline works for all situations. The wise parent develops a variety of skills and approaches, such as:
It is important to continually learn and practice good parenting techniques, using different discipline strategies as your child grows and develops. All discipline techniques must be age-appropriate so that the child understands the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour. Babies younger than age 18 months cannot understand these concepts.
Contact your child's doctor if:
You can get other parenting tips from your child's doctor, a nurse call line, and national parenting groups.
Other Works Consulted
American Academy of Pediatrics (2009). Behavior. In SP Shelov, RE Hannemann, eds., Caring For Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, 4th ed., chap. 18, pp. 565-586. New York: Bantam.
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health (1998, reaffirmed 2014). Guidance for effective discipline. Pediatrics, 101(4): 723-728. DOI: 10.11542/peds.2014-2679. Accessed November 5, 2014.
Newman BM, Newman PR (2012). Early school age (4 to 6 year). In Development Through Life: A Psychosocial Approach, 11th ed., pp. 238-286. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Stein MT (2011). Difficult behavior. In CD Rudolph et al., eds., Rudolph's Pediatrics, 22nd ed., pp. 335-338. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD, MPH - PediatricsThomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerLouis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Current as ofMay 4, 2017
Current as of: May 4, 2017
John Pope, MD, MPH - Pediatrics
& Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
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