Discipline That Works Advice on Positive Strategies to Influence Children's Behavior

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), November 26, 2018 | Go to article overview

Discipline That Works Advice on Positive Strategies to Influence Children's Behavior


Byline: Trisha Korioth American Academy of Pediatrics

Ask a room full of adults how to handle a child's bad behavior, and you will get a rainbow of answers. Parents across generations have tried timeouts, reasoning, yelling and even spanking.

What do pediatricians recommend?

The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to use discipline strategies, not physical or verbal punishments to stop unwanted behaviors in children and teens.

Teaching children to recognize and control their behavior is an important job for the adults in their lives. How adults respond to a child's behaviors has lasting effects on their development, according to the AAP. It shapes how the child thinks, behaves, feels and interacts with others. It also teaches the child how to behave as an adult.

Discipline teaches kids what is acceptable. When children are taught how to control their behaviors, they learn how to avoid harm.

Punishment might work fast to stop bad behavior. But it is not effective over time, according to the AAP.

Corporal (physical) punishment also does not work. The AAP is against physical punishment in and outside of school.

Most parents do not support use of spanking as a discipline strategy, and studies back them up. Physical punishment can encourage future aggressive behaviors in children. In other words, children who were disciplined physically, often resort to physical methods to resolve their own conflicts.

So instead of physical punishment, the AAP urges parents to use healthy discipline methods for children and teens.

* Catch them being good: Praising good behavior supports a child's effort to control his behavior. So, when your child picks up his toys after being asked, take time to reinforce good behavior by offering praise for following directions.

* Be a role model for good behavior: Don't yell and fight to resolve conflict. Instead discuss the situation as calmly as possible or take a timeout to let the situation cool off before talking further.

* Set limits and expectations: Providing children with clear cut expectations for behavior makes it more likely that they will meet those expectations. …

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