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How do I effectively discipline my child?

It's not easy to properly discipline a young child. You want him behave but, at the same time, you don't want to have to act like a Sergeant Major to make him do so.

It may seem like an impossible task but with a little help and advice, you may well be surprised just how easy it is. The key points to remember are as follows:

Start early

The worst discipline decision you can possibly make, is to wait. You must start setting behaviour rules and boundaries from a very early age. Every month you wait, makes it harder for you to set the behavioual foundations from which a kind, pleasant, little boy or girl will grow.

Keep shouting to a minimum

Shouting should be kept in reserve, only to be pulled out when you really need it. If you shout at your child everyday, it quickly loses it’s effectiveness. Most of the time, it’s far better to stay calm and talk to your child in a controlled manner. Remember children learn from their parents so if you don't want a loud, aggressive child, keep those decibels down.


Whether to smack or not, has to be a personal choice for parents. However, the general consensus today is that smacking should be used very sparingly, and always with a light hand. Spanking your child for every misdemeanor is pointless. The whole point of smacking is to give a child such a shock that he'll never that bad thing again. This is also the reason why anything other than a light tap on the wrist or the bottom, is completely unnecessary.

Dealing with aggression

Aggression should never be met with aggression. If your child hits you, the most effective thing you can do is to simply walk away from him. Children all want attention, especially from their mum, so the worst punishment you can give him, is to deprive him of any. Ignore him for a good length of time and then sit him down and explain just how upset you are with his behaviour.

Threats must be backed up

One of the key aspects of dICSIplining your child is the threat or 'hanging punishment' (i.e. If you do that again you’re not watching television tonight). This is a very effective way to get your child to do what he’s told, but only if he’s believes you will carrying it out. Children may be young but they're not stupid. They'll quickly realise if you never carry out the threats you make, and then they’ll just walk all over you.

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