How Do You Discipline Your Child?

Updated on November 15, 2011
A.G. asks from Dover, NH
9 answers

How do you discipline your child? I know everyone has different ways to discipline and what works for one child might not work for another. I am wondering what has worked for you and your child. Since there is no rule book that every family has to follow what are some major and minor offenses in your family? How old are your kids and what are the consequences for what they did wrong?
Have you ever regretted a punishment that you have given your child?
How do you discipline when you are out in public? Have you ever let things slide a little because you know they are sick or they are over tired or just overwhelmed by a certain situation?

I am not looking for answers for myself here I am just asking to see how other moms and dads handle their kids.

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So What Happened?

Jenny- I hope no one will start arguing because of this question. I am just wondering what other parents do. I know I have done things with my kids that others think is not right or not an effective way of doing things but it is what works for my kids and others have done things that I might not think is the right way to do things but will work for their kids.
I am not here to judge anyone on how they discipline their children and I hope no one else is here to judge what anyone does either.

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answers from St. Louis on

If you're not looking for answers, then why ask the question? This is the type of question that will get mamas arguing back and forth. JMO

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answers from Washington DC on


When they were younger, I spanked. Now that they are 9, 11 and 25 (this one doesn't live with me) I count from 5. They know that if I am not happy - I count. If I get to 0 - they have lost something of importance to them....what a 9 and 11 year old deem important.

Consequences - loss of XBOX time, computer time, toys, bed earlier, no dessert - it all depends upon what they did wrong.

When in public? I still count. I have a "look" they say that says it all. I will get a VERY stern (drill sergeant) voice and tell them no, correct them, etc.

If they are sick? I don't give them excuses to misbehave. If they are tired, I try to limit the stimulation they will get.

I have let them run "amock" in a few cases....there was one time we were stuck in an airport for 4 hours...they needed to run and there were 3 other kids who had ants in their pants as I spoke to their mom and we had the stop light race in the middle of the concourse. Some travelers didn't like it - but I think they would NOT have liked the meltdowns that would've ensued if they had NOT been able to get the energy out.

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answers from St. Louis on

Never regretted any punishment.

Really I can't say any one thing, I think I have used them all. I think that is the key to good discipline, adapting to the child you are disciplining. I have four, what works for any one doesn't do squat for the other three, ya know?

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answers from Norfolk on

Mine is almost 3 and we use time outs. She gets a 1-2-3 warning and if she doesn't correct her behavior by 3 she gets a time out. There have been about 3 times in which I spanked her (I'm not sure she even felt it but it scared her) because she did something dangerous (1x she ran out of the house into the front yard on her own, 1x ran away from me in a busy parking lot and 1x she ran away from me and into the road at a relative's house). We don't believe in spanking any other time. I will find a naughty chair ANYWHERE we are. She's had time outs every place you can think of. I think being consistent is important. We do cut her some slack if she's sick or we're off schedule and she's tired etc... but there is a limit. At those times we really encourage her to use her words and express her feelings instead of acting out.

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answers from Washington DC on

We do time outs, restrictions (grounding), loss of item or privilege, generally. If we are out and about we can do things like NOT go out to eat since someone can't act right, or, yes, I do time out at stores or back in the car if it's warranted. Generally counting to 5 is enough to get DD back on track.

I do try to keep the situation in mind. Not let them run rampant, but if SD's been running on 4 hours of sleep due to the play she's in, she's not thinking clearly. Or if our errands keep out out longer and DD is tired and hungry, I don't hold her to the same standards, but I do try to wrap it up/fix it/get home. Sometimes it is MY failing that causes the problem, not so much the kid.

I'm sure there are consequences I have or will regret. We are not perfect people. I can't think of any major ones right now (need coffee).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I try to discipline with Love and Logic.

Yes, a major offense is lying. A minor offense would be interrupting.

Yes, I have regretted punishments. I've had to apologize and take it back.

In public I would remove the child if necessary, and talk about it later. Absolutely I have let things slide if a child is stressed, sick, or is just overtired. I sure hope my husband, family and friends do the same for me!

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answers from Washington DC on

I'm a big fan of natural and/or logical consequences because I think it helps him learn to live in the world, not just live with me.

Ex) Last night he was chewing with his mouth open at the table. SO reminded him, I reminded him. After that I said, "If you can't eat politely at the table with us, you'll have to eat alone." He did it again, so he had to take his plate to the kitchen and finish eating there.

Also we try to avoid misbehavior by doing first THIS then THAT (ie do your homework and clean up your playroom, then you may watch tv until dinner time). So if he takes forever doing the first thing he runs out of time for the second thing. The "punishment" is built in.

When I have to use straight up "discipline" it's time out, but at this point (5 with ADHD) we're probably talking about 1 or 2 timeouts in a week.

I have always regretted any time I yelled at him. I feel out of control and it makes the situation worse not better. The only punishment I've ever regretted was 1 week of no screen time, which was actually really good for him, but I had to find stuff to entertain us ALL DAY for a week! Luckily it was summertime :)

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answers from La Crosse on

For the younger ones ( and when the older ones were younger) it was 1,2,3 and not slowly counted either! Then it was a time out. After the first time out I gave one warning if it kept happening then it was right to spanking. I bearly ever had to get to that point.

For 5/6 to about 10 talking back was soap in the mouth for 5 mins.

After about the age of 6/7 it was groundings to the room... for an half hour up to a week. Plus there was always extra chores to be done. That's still what we do for the older ones.

Also if the kids can't keep thier hand off of each other the meanest punishment ever is to have them sit in the middle of the floor and hold hands or hug nicely and quietly for 15mins. After an hour they would usually get sick of looking at each other and sitting there and they would do thier time the right way. After the 3rd time I think of this all I had to say was do you want to hold hands/ hug and they quickly changed thier tune!

Out in public was no different than at home. I have gotten some interesting comments from people if I have spanked my children in the middle of the store. ( all my spanking have ever been is one good slap to the bottom, never more than one! At home or in public) Usually my response is well I refuse to let my children be one of "those" kids. I ask do you enjoy hearing "those" kids.. yeah me either and walk away with a behaved child.

When sick, tired or overwhelmed... yes I have let things slide. You have to at one point or another... its all about picking your battles!

I guess my way is "old school" with a modern twist and finding out what works best with each child and go with it ;)

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answers from Denver on

I think it depends on the child and the age and the situation. Time outs never worked very well for our kids. We did use them - (remove from situation) - for hitting or out of control tantrums. Otherwise, the "punishment" fit the crime. If they threw a toy, it went up for a day or so. If they didn't listen and it was a safety issue, they were brought inside - no more playing if you aren't going to stay out of the street. They are still only 3 and 5. I have also taken away some priviledges, i.e. no juice today. Mostly I've found at these ages it has to be as "natural" of a consequence vs. punishment as possible, and timely... not something taken away in the future. Interesting to see everyone's responses. The only thing I've regretted is yelling.... when I have lost my temper - that served no one well. I felt terrible and it set a bad example for them.

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