Frequent Questions and Concerns about Discipline
What do I do if my child doesn’t respond to discipline?
Many parents find themselves in this situation—a child continues breaking a rule, despite repeated enforcement of consequences. One of the best ways to address this issue is to enlist the help of other adults. You can talk to parents of older children who may have also gone through this experience, and see what helped them, or ask a school counselor or parent educator about how to deal with a specific behavior. If your child has meaningful relationships with other adults, you can also ask them about disciplinary issues that may arise.
Should I discontinue my child’s allowance as a punishment?
To avoid developing a “money defines what is right and wrong” attitude in your child, you should keep money out of your disciplinary methods. Instead of withholding allowance, have your child complete one of her or his sibling’s chores for the week, or bar your teenager from using the car for a couple days. There are many disciplinary measures that are just as effective as money-based ones and are better for promoting positive development.
How do I know if my child’s behavior is a sign of more serious problems?
Your child’s teacher or school counselor may be able to offer insights into your child’s behavioral problems. If you think that your child is misbehaving or having trouble with discipline because of a more serious underlying issue, you can also speak with a child psychiatrist or children’s counselor. Schools and congregations also sometimes offer workshop on discipline which offer many useful insights and strategies, including signs of more serious behavioral issues.
Why should I involve my child in the boundary-setting process?
Involving your child in setting boundaries is a great way to help them understand why you have the expectations that you do. Try these:
- Observe the boundaries of other families (neighbors, relatives, television families, and so on). Discuss what’s appropriate and what’s not for your family and why.
- Meet monthly to discuss your family’s boundaries. Are they fair? Do they still fit? Do they reflect your family’s values? Adjust them if needed.
- When your kids make a case for changing your family’s boundaries, pay attention. Even if you disagree, let them know that you’re listening to their reasons and thinking about what they have to say.
How do I know when I should change the boundaries I’ve set for my children?
Boundaries and expectations can change for many reasons. One of the most common is getting older—a young child will have different boundaries than a teenager. You may change your family’s boundaries if you move to a new home, welcome another child into your family, or when your teen gets a job. You can also let your child earn new freedoms as he or she shows more responsibility.