How to teach discipline to your child?
Posted on: October 21, 2010. Comments ( 316 )

Author: Chitra Aravind, Parent from Chettinad Vidyashram, Chennai
Consultant Psychologist - (RCI Certified)

Every mother wants to have their kids to be a well disciplined child, listen to them always, obey them and on the whole be a Good child. Thankfully, kids can be trained to be the way you wanted them to be. So, the million dollar question of “How” arises!!?

Parenting style plays an important role in regulating mental growth of the child through the developmental ages. Regulating child’s behavior is an important ingredient of parenting style. This will decide mostly the love the child will have for you in future. The parents should check for their emotional status before disciplining the child. Ironically, most of the time parents scold the child in frustration and despair, assuming that they are disciplining their child. The fact is that they are only expressing their own frustration, inability and helplessness and ventilating negative emotions (Anger). It is no way going to help in regulating the child’s behavior. So, the parents’ real purpose of disciplining the child is lost.

Imagine a supermarket bill counter, suddenly your kid raises his/her tone to get the chocolate bars arranged aesthetically near the bill counter. You do not intend to get it for him, at all. Generally, most of the parents react to the situation in two ways.1) Irritated by the noise of your child, you give in and get him what he wants. 2) Beat him up and push him out of his way to home. Either the way, the problem behavior is not corrected. In the first method, you have unknowingly reinforced (encouraged) the child to cry hard next time to get what he wants. In the second way, you created the hatred by punishing him, that too, in front of others. I believe that many parents reading this article would have gone through such experiences with their child.

In this era of fast life-style and emerging dual-career families, many parents give in to the obnoxious behavior of kids, just to get rid of the child’s nagging demands and to get instant relief. Thereby, parents unknowingly approve the negative behavior of kids themselves. If this type of building the habit increases, kids become very adamant. They will follow the same strategy of crying /resisting/rebelling for getting things done in their favor. Gradually the child will learn to manipulate their parents for whatever they want. If left unnoticed, this will become their habit and would cause trouble in their intra and interpersonal relationship in future.

At this point, parents have to break this habit by intervening early. So, its better that parents spend quality time with their kids to prevent big troubles in future. Every time, the kid cries adamantly he should not be attended, but ignored. Instead parents have to attend to their needs when communicated verbally by the child instead of crying. Gradually, the adamant habit would vanish and the child will learn that crying hard will not fetch him anything. Moreover, parents should not always say the word “NO”, which the child resents a lot. Instead, they should give them some alternate things to concentrate. E.g., in the same instance, the parents could promise him to buy painting book/whatever he likes, if he stops crying. He must be assured that parents are doing everything for his personal goodness and not that parents are unable to do it. i.e., buying chocolates will not cost them much, but it is not good for child’s health. Effectively communicating with your child is very important.

Punishment must be the least preferred way to discipline the child. Unfortunately, parents resort to punishment quickly as it is easy and they believe that its very effective. However, they are ignorant of the fact that result of punishing acts like shouting and beating to discipline the child is only short-lived with dangerous consequences. For the moment, the behavior may be modified to what you expected, however in long run, the undesired behavior shall soon creep in addition to hatred for the person who punished the child.

One more effective technique to make child do things which they hate to do, is to give them the activity they like only after doing things they do not prefer to do. This way the child will learn to involve in activity which the parents want them to do. E.g. You will be allowed to watch Television (Activity child likes) only if you make your bed ready. (Activity child hates). So, motivated by the consequences (i.e. watching TV) the child indulges in that behavior (making bed) actively and happily.

These are prerequisites to apply these principles.

  1. Know your child needs and analyze the cause of behavior; there is Motive behind all behaviors. Know what your child likes, to motivate him/her using that as rewards.
  2. Check out on your temper and make sure that you don’t ventilate your emotions, but be keen on only regulating your child’s behavior.

Parents should check out for their own physical and psychological status, as their irritability should not be displaced on the child. Parents should clearly understand that the child’s irritable behavior has its own causes. It may be physical or psychological. He may be hungry, sleepy or he may need attention and Love. So, the parents should be empathetic about their child’s needs and try to meet those needs. Parents can try praising the child for any small good things they have done, and not always keen on pointing to mistakes they have done. However check to not always say “Very Good”, as the word will loose is power. Use praise in appropriate situations. After all, the child expects love, security and recognition from you. This will definitely make the child to listen to you. These behavioral techniques can be used with adolescents too. So, what are you waiting for, go ahead and start applying them, to see fruitful results. However, be patient and give some time for the deep rooted habits to be modified to adaptive behaviors.

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Comments (316)


    Srinivasalu says:

    Good article…will help us a lot

    Manikandan.k says:

    Good one it will help us a lot

    Farzana Siraj Sumar says:

    Thank you for sharing good tips. An Eye opener & very suggestive. Awaiting more such articles to overcome our weak points.

    Zainab Bandally says:

    Yes article is really helpful .
    Please send us more articles on parenting skills from time to time.thank u

      Dr Reetha Dinesh says:

      I want you all to listen this video by Jayanthi Balakrishnan, Karka kasarada, I want all parents and children to listen to that!!!!

    Deepak says:

    Very helpful article. Thank u so much, regards from prof mahale, gmsisuccess, mumbai,

    Helen says:

    Thanks for the beautiful advice and i would really try to implement on my son.

    Kailasam says:

    Nice article. I am trying the same with my kid.

    Inderpal Singh Alag says:

    nice one

    Russel says:

    Very good article. Wish many more parents read this and implement.

    Purushothaman says:

    very good topic, try to implement .

    Saiprasad says:

    Thanks & very use full.

    Eswar.v says:

    Nice article!

    Alka Maurya says:

    Very Nice Article..Applicable to all the parents…

    Pritam Shetty says:

    Once in a while you need to show the iron hand that is inside the velvet glove. When my kid gets the results of the monthly tests I review each page. Then I write down areas where low to zero (it does happen) marks are assigned.

    Then I make my kid find out correct answers or solve the problems (if math) or write the Hindi spellings 3 times. I know this is retrospective. I’m hoping it makes the kid understand that all things aside, getting above average marks is important.

    Chandrasekaran says:

    nice.very effective.

    Shrikant says:

    Its too good for our children future life.

    Ashok Dhamankar says:


    Rupali says:

    Very nice and true

    Pritam Shetty says:

    It also helps if you insist on speaking in your mother tongue unless it’s school work.

    Equally important keep them away from friends who have more “advanced” behavior. You know what I mean? Other kids who speak about “my body is mine; I need valid reasons; I do what I want” and so on.

    V. Kirubalakshmi says:

    Very nice article .I request all parents to read this article

    Satendra Balwantsingh Rawat says:

    Very helpful article. Thank u so much.

    Kartheeban V says:

    Good information ,all parents request to try to follow. helps nation .

    U Shasree says:

    nice and good gudiance for the parents how to handle kids

    Deepak Peety says:

    Very nice article, thank you. Ushma – very true (abt grand parents), and actually in such situations it further irkes me :)

    Any article to discipline we adults?

    Ushma says:

    Nice I too tried lots of time but it requires variations also in form of different activities as if I always try to motivate them with single thing the reaction differs. So always notice them carefully before trying for batter result. After all its mother’s job to find out ideas. Sometimes get failure too and when we put it practically it totally depends on other family member support also. I face this so many times when I refuse my child if he is demanding something by crying throwing tentraum grand patents take his side and next time he repeats it definitely.But surely we can correct child not an adult.

    C. Sree Moogambigai says:

    Nice info..Well said!!

    Cassilda Ryan Shirsat says:

    Very helpful article. ..literally opened up my eyes for many corrections to be done from my end towards my child ..thank u ..

    Sangeetha Babladkar says:

    good advice.. try to practically adopt

    Raja says:

    Good thanks for ur advice

    Rupali Umesh Nangare says:

    Good article, surely will follow tips.

    Bhaskar says:

    GOOD article. Will try to follow this advice.

    S.raman says:

    really good advice when needed

    M.sowdeshwari says:

    very nice article I really apply in my life

    Kanya Konjeti says:

    very good article.

    Syed says:

    Thanks Very useful info

    Aravindan says:

    Good Thought !!!

    Rajesh Jayantilal says:

    Thanks for the suggestions will definitely try to implement

    Rajesh says:

    Good one but put into practice takes lots of patience, Naturally one should not lost patience or showing anger to the children.

    Poornima says:

    I really want to be patient but it’s too hard, at times!
    Will try my best from now on!
    Very good article!

    Saraswathi.s says:

    Nice article. If we follow what they mentioned in the above article, sure our kids will not be adamant …

    Ravindra Madhukar Bhatkar says:

    Very nice article. It helps to maintain parents & their child’s relation.

    Raja Arumugam says:

    very nice article, it will help to parent and child relationship.


    Ramkumar Ananthakrishnan says:

    Alternative option –excellent do lot of good in professional and personal life.proves to work even for managing team

    Shama says:

    Good Article….Small things which have big impacts on kids grooming.

    Ganapathi says:

    Very good article and nice lesson to parent for the way of adopt with children.

    G Kalivaradharajan (guardian) says:

    Good lesson to parents.
    Thank you.

    Gajendra says:

    very nice article.

    Radha says:

    Good one it will help us a lot

    DR.B. LathaLavanya says:

    Good and nice to hear, Thanks for your good effort.

    Best Regards

    SANJEEV says:

    very good practical advice i hope to adopt with my children

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