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What parents should avoid?

Disciplining Your Child

Whatever your child’s age, it’s important to be consistent when it comes to discipline. If parents don’t stick to the rules and consequences they set up, their kids aren’t likely to either.

Here are some ideas about how to vary your approach to discipline to best fit your family.

Ages 0 to 2

Babies and toddlers are naturally curious. So it’s wise to eliminate temptations and no-nos — items such as TVs and video equipment, stereos, jewelry, and especially cleaning supplies and medicines should be kept well out of reach.

When your crawling baby or roving toddler heads toward an unacceptable or dangerous play object, calmly say «No» and either remove your child from the area or distract him or her with an appropriate activity.

Timeouts can be effective discipline for toddlers. A child who has been hitting, biting, or throwing food, for example, should be told why the behavior is unacceptable and taken to a designated timeout area — a kitchen chair or bottom stair — for a minute or two to calm down (longer timeouts are not effective for toddlers).

It’s important to not spank, hit, or slap a child of any age. Babies and toddlers are especially unlikely to be able to make any connection between their behavior and physical punishment. They will only feel the pain of the hit.

And don’t forget that kids learn by watching adults, particularly their parents. Make sure your behavior is role-model material. You’ll make a much stronger impression by putting your own belongings away rather than just issuing orders to your child to pick up toys while your stuff is left strewn around.

Ages 3 to 5

As your child grows and begins to understand the connection between actions and consequences, make sure you start communicating the rules of your family’s home.

Explain to kids what you expect of them before you punish them for a behavior. The first time your 3-year-old uses crayons to decorate the living room wall, discuss why that’s not allowed and what will happen if your child does it again (for instance, your child will have to help clean the wall and will not be able to use the crayons for the rest of the day). If the wall gets decorated again a few days later, issue a reminder that crayons are for paper only and then enforce the consequences.

The earlier that parents establish this kind of «I set the rules and you’re expected to listen or accept the consequences» standard, the better for everyone. Although it’s sometimes easier for parents to ignore occasional bad behavior or not follow through on some threatened punishment, this sets a bad precedent. Empty threats undermine your authority as a parent, and make it more likely that kids will test limits. Consistency is the key to effective discipline, and it’s important for parents to decide (together, if you are not a single parent) what the rules are and then uphold them.

While you become clear on what behaviors will be punished, don’t forget to reward good behaviors. Don’t underestimate the positive effect that your praise can have — discipline is not just about punishment, but also about recognizing good behavior. For example, saying «I’m proud of you for sharing your toys at playgroup» is usually more effective than punishing a child who didn’t share. And be specific when giving praise rather than just saying «Good job!» You want to make it clear which behaviors you liked. This makes them more likely to happen in the future — the more attention we give to a behavior, the more likely it is to continue.

If your child continues an unacceptable behavior no matter what you do, try making a chart with a box for each day of the week. Decide how many times your child can misbehave before a punishment kicks in or how long the proper behavior must be seen before it is rewarded. Post the chart on the refrigerator and then track the good and unacceptable behaviors every day. This will give your child (and you) a concrete look at how it’s going. Once this begins to work, praise your child for learning to control misbehavior and, especially, for overcoming any stubborn problem.

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Timeouts also can work well for kids at this age. Pick a suitable timeout place, such as a chair or bottom step, that’s free of distractions. Remember, getting sent to your room isn’t effective if a computer, TV, or games are there. Also, a timeout is time away from any type of reinforcement. So your child shouldn’t get any attention from you while in a timeout — including talking, eye contact, etc.

Be sure to consider the length of time that will work best for your child. Experts say 1 minute for each year of age is a good rule of thumb; others recommend using the timeout until the child is calmed down (to teach self-regulation). Make sure that if a timeout happens because your child didn’t follow directions, you follow through with the direction after the timeout.

It’s important to tell kids what the right thing to do is, not just to say what the wrong thing is. For example, instead of saying «Don’t jump on the couch,» try «Please sit on the furniture and put your feet on the floor.»

Be sure to give clear, direct commands. Instead of «Could you please put your shoes on?» say «Please put your shoes on.» This leaves no room for confusion and does not imply that following directions is a choice.

Ages 6 to 8

Timeouts and consequences are also effective discipline strategies for this age group.

Again, consistency is crucial, as is follow-through. Make good on any promises of discipline or else you risk undermining your authority. Kids have to believe that you mean what you say. This is not to say you can’t give second chances or allow a certain margin of error, but for the most part, you should act on what you say.

Be careful not to make unrealistic threats of punishment («Slam that door and you’ll never watch TV again!») in anger, since not following through could weaken all your threats. If you threaten to turn the car around and go home if the squabbling in the backseat doesn’t stop, make sure you do exactly that. The credibility you’ll gain with your kids is much more valuable than a lost beach day.

Huge punishments may take away your power as a parent. If you ground your son or daughter for a month, your child may not feel motivated to change behaviors because everything has already been taken away. It may help to set some goals that kids can meet to earn back privileges that were taken away for misbehavior.

Ages 9 to 12

Kids in this age group — just as with all ages — can be disciplined with natural consequences. As they mature and request more independence and responsibility, teaching them to deal with the consequences of their behavior is an effective and appropriate method of discipline.

For example, if your fifth grader’s homework isn’t done before bedtime, should you make him or her stay up to do it or even lend a hand yourself? Probably not — you’ll miss an opportunity to teach a key life lesson. If homework is incomplete, your child will go to school the next day without it and suffer the resulting bad grade.

It’s natural for parents to want to rescue kids from mistakes, but in the long run they do kids a favor by letting them fail sometimes. Kids see what behaving improperly can mean and probably won’t make those mistakes again. However, if your child does not seem to be learning from natural consequences, set up some of your own to help change the behavior. Removing privileges such as electronics can be an effective consequence for this age group.

Ages 13 and Up

By now you’ve laid the groundwork. Your child knows what’s expected and that you mean what you say about the penalties for bad behavior. Don’t let down your guard now — discipline is just as important for teens as it is for younger kids. Just as with;the 4-year-old who needs you to set a bedtime and enforce it, your teen needs boundaries, too.

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Set up rules regarding homework, visits by friends, curfews, and dating and discuss them beforehand with your teenager so there will be no misunderstandings. Your teen will probably complain from time to time, but also will realize that you’re in control. Believe it or not, teens still want and need you to set limits and enforce order in their lives, even as you grant them greater freedom and responsibility.

When your teen does break a rule, taking away privileges may seem the best plan of action. While it’s fine to take away the car for a week, for example, be sure to also discuss why coming home an hour past curfew is unacceptable and worrisome.

Remember to give a teenager some control over things. Not only will this limit the number of power struggles you have, it will help your teen respect the decisions that you do need to make. You could allow a younger teen to make decisions concerning school clothes, hair styles, or even the condition of his or her room. As your teen gets older, that realm of control might be extended to include an occasional relaxed curfew.

It’s also important to focus on the positives. For example, have your teen earn a later curfew by demonstrating positive behavior instead of setting an earlier curfew as punishment for irresponsible behavior.

A Word About Spanking

Perhaps no form of discipline is more controversial than spanking. Here are some reasons why experts discourage spanking:

  • Spanking teaches kids that it’s OK to hit when they’re angry.
  • Spanking can physically harm children.
  • Rather than teaching kids how to change their behavior, spanking makes them fearful of their parents and teaches them to avoid getting caught.
  • For kids seeking attention by acting out, spanking may «reward» them — negative attention is better than no attention at all.

6 Major Parenting Mistakes to Avoid

Let’s face it—we are all imperfect parents in one way or another. Even though we realize that no one gets it right all the time, it’s still easy to judge and label yourself a “good parent” or “bad parent” depending upon how you handle a given situation. But as James Lehman says, “The important thing is to be a ‘good enough’ parent.” A good enough parent takes care of their child, tries their best, and looks for help when they need it.The good news is that by becoming a more effective parent, you can work on things to help improve your child’s behavior.

“As they say, the definition of insanity is ‘doing something the same way and expecting things to change.’”

Here are six “Ineffective Parenting Roles” that James Lehman talks about in The Total Transformation Program. One of the core building blocks of his program is identifying your own parenting style to see what’s working and what isn’t. A parenting style, or a “role” as it’s sometimes called, is how you habitually respond to a parenting situation. If you find your child’s behavior isn’t changing (or is even getting worse), stopping and looking at things more closely can be so helpful. As they say, the definition of insanity is “doing something the same way and expecting things to change.” By realizing the role you are playing as a parent, you can learn how to do things differently in order to help change your child’s behavior.

3. The Martyr

This parent never wants to see their child fail or feel distress. If you want to protect your child from difficult emotions, you might work tirelessly to be sure he or she doesn’t feel left out or frustrated. You might find yourself working far harder on homework or projects than your child does. You want the road ahead to be as smooth as possible for your child. How can this be bad?

The thing is, when you rush in to do things for your child, what you’re actually doing is sending a message that you don’t think they’re capable of handling the situation well on their own. And, that may be true! You might be worried that they can’t do it. But the truth is—and this is important—kids learn problem-solving skills as they fail. They learn to handle feelings of frustration only if they get to experience frustration. If you make the road too easy for your child, protecting them against every feeling of failure or frustration, you are keeping them from learning their own strength. And, you’re exhausting yourself in the process!

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The solution: The martyr parent needs to stop working so hard. Allow your child to feel unhappiness or frustration. You can help him find ways to manage those feelings, but don’t shield him from them. Ask yourself, “Am I doing something that my child can really do for himself? ”

4. The Perfectionist

The perfectionist parent can be seen as the flip side of the martyr: instead of seeing everything your child does as great, this parent sees everything their child does as not good enough. Parents stuck in this ineffective parenting style know their kids have great talents, they just need to work harder at them. So why would that be ineffective? Because the perfectionist parent teaches the child that failure is expected from them. If a child can never measure up to the high standards their parents have for them, why should they even try? And if the child is successful, the perfectionist parent will often raise the bar, insisting that their child can do even better next time.

Perfectionist parents often feel they know their child so well, they know what they’re thinking. They often assume the worst, detecting their child’s assumed bad attitude even before the child opens their mouth. Why is this ineffective? Unfortunately, what you’re teaching your child is to never show their emotions, to keep any accomplishments to themselves, and to avoid interacting with you. Why? Because they know they will never be good enough. You’re not teaching your child to reach their potential; you’re teaching them to cringe at every correction.

The solution: The perfectionist parent needs to allow some distance between themselves and their child—at least between their expectations and their child’s actual interests. Negative pressure, scolding, and hypercriticism won’t make kids improve. Encouraging your child to reach her goals and explore her natural talents is a much better atmosphere for growth.

5. Bottomless pockets

The parent with bottomless pockets is someone who hopes to make a connection with their child by giving them whatever they want. We see this often in families where the child may spend time with two different sets of parents/stepparents, but it can certainly happen within one household, too. The bottomless pockets parent, or “over-giver,” indulges a child materially, often to stop the child’s behavior problems or to prevent future ones. As James Lehman writes in the Total Transformation, ”It’s often easier for the parent to spend money – even money they don’t have – than it is to suffer the reactions when their child hears ‘no.’”

What this does is create a false sense of entitlement in your child. He or she learns to manipulate you into giving them what they want. Because it feels easy to get material goods, the child does not learn the reality of having to work for rewards or compensation. This can set them up not only for future problems in the adult work world, but also in setting and achieving their own personal goals.

The solution: The parent with bottomless pockets needs to learn to say no—and to tolerate their child’s reactions when they don’t get what they want. If you want to use material things as rewards for your child, be sure they are connected with tangible expectations, effort, and accomplishments, not simply just because they asked.

6. The Ticket-puncher

The parent stuck in this ineffective role acts like their child’s best friend: they go overboard trying to understand their child’s needs and motivation, often identifying quite deeply with their child. For example, if you didn’t enjoy school as a child, you may trivialize or minimalize your child’s poor school behavior. After all, you understand what he’s going through. The ticket puncher parent sides with the child in most circumstances, joining them in badmouthing authority figures, or ignoring rules they find unimportant.

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The problem with this style of parenting is not that you understand your child, it’s that you let your understanding keep you from following the rules. The child does not need to manage her behavior if she can convince you that her reasons are valid, or that it is someone else’s fault. The parent may then blame others people’s negative influence on their child, rather than see their child as wholly responsible for their own actions.

The solution: The ticket-punching parent needs to make a clear distinction between understanding their child and holding them accountable for their actions. Just because you can relate to your child’s frustration does not mean they don’t have to follow the rules. You can be compassionate while also being clear about your expectations for their behavior.

Parenting is tough, and looking at your own habits and behaviors can be uncomfortable, too. As you reflect on your own parenting style, think of it like this: it’s never a question of whether your style is right or wrong, but whether it’s currently working to create the behavior you want to see in your child.

The bottom line is that ineffective parenting roles do not promote change, and they fail to promote accountability in a child. As James Lehman tells us again and again, in order for your child to truly grow and change, you’ll need to parent in ways that actually make that change happen. You can do it.

About Megan Devine, LCPC

Megan Devine is a licensed clinical therapist, former Empowering Parents Parent Coach, speaker and writer. She is also the bonus-parent to a successfully launched young man. You can find more of her work at, where she advocates for new ways to live with grief.

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6 Things You Should Avoid Doing In Front Of Your Child

No matter how busy the schedule or how stressful the life, there are some things which parents must avoid doing in front of their children.

By: DoctorNDTV Updated: Apr 23, 2018 09:34 IST
3-Min Read

6 Things You Should Avoid Doing In Front Of Your Child

Parents must avoid arguing in front of their parents


  1. Parents should take care of what they are doing in front of their kids
  2. Avoid eating junk food in front of your children
  3. Do not give them your phone just to get away from them

Children are innocent souls, who demand love and attention at all times. While parents are amidst their tons of responsibilities, work stress and an extremely packed schedule, they forget that they are depriving their children of some of the most basic needs. They often forget that every action or reaction that they do in front of their child will have some kind of effect on the child. And this can be both positive and negative. However, in all circumstances, there are a few things which are a big no-no in front of the child.

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Read below to know what they are:

1. Lie


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Parents can have multiple excuses for not being able to make up to their children for any random reason. It all comes down to having too much to do and not being able to focus on anything properly. But lying to your children is not justified, irrespective of the reason. Children being young, inexperienced and innocent will not be able to grasp the grey line we tread when we lie. It will only seem nightmarish to your when you see your child doing the same to you.

2. Fight with your partner

Showing signs of aggression, being loud or violent in front of your child can make your child feel extremely insecure and scared, and might also lead to him/her developing the same habits on growing up. According to a UNICEF report, showing signs of aggression or getting into shrewd arguments or domestic violence in front of the child will lead to the child growing up with similar problems in the future.

3. Mocking your child in front of others

Playfully teasing your child or making fun of his innocent reactions might seem funny and nothing serious right now, but it can have some serious negative impact on the child during his formative years. Not only does it end up making a traumatising memory for the child, it also lowers his/her self-esteem and self-confidence to a great extent.

4. Getting violent and aggressive on your child

Your child needs your love and care, not your anger. He/she might infuriate you, but it is your responsibility to not lose your temper and raise a hand at them or shout at them. Each time you flare up and rage, they will become increasing timid around you and will be afraid to even talk to you, leave alone sharing with you.

5. Eat junk food

Regret feeding your child with the first packet of 2-minute noodles? Junk or fast food might seem convenient options for your children, but we all know that it lacks in the basic nutritional value which is essential for your child. Moreover, they are addictive and will make your children develop cravings for them. So avoid eating junk food in front of your children. It makes them believe that it is alright to have them.

6. Use too much phone

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Staring at your phone all the time and neglecting the playtime that your child desperately waits for, is unfair. Also, giving tablets or phones to your children to get rid of them must too be avoided in all circumstances. These behaviours will convince children that it is perfectly fine to spend hours staring on the screen of their phones and tablets.


DoctorNDTV is the one stop site for all your health needs providing the most credible health information, health news and tips with expert advice on healthy living, diet plans, informative videos etc. You can get the most relevant and accurate info you need about health problems like diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, HIV and AIDS, weight loss and many other lifestyle diseases. We have a panel of over 350 experts who help us develop content by giving their valuable inputs and bringing to us the latest in the world of healthcare.

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