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Teaching Good Behavior Without Harsh Discipline

April 22nd, 2010 - Category: Behavior Advice

Have you ever felt sometimes like you just want to give up on being patient with your kids? Believe me you’re not alone. It can be very frustrating when the little guys mess up and don’t do exactly what you would like them to do. Of course it is for their own benefit, you feel, that they DO do what you want them to do. You want them to be happy by making good choices.

Oftentimes, as a parent, you feel like you can see the consequences of certain actions a little better than your children because of your age and experience. Though it can be difficult, the truth is that harsh discipline only seems to make things worse. I have had the chance to see both sides of the spectrum as I’m sure most of you have. They are vastly different and I really do feel like one is better than the other.
Teach Good Behavior Without Harsh Discipline

Effects of Harsh Discipline

Consistent harsh discipline seems to bring out the worst in children. If they hear “you’re stupid,” “you little brat,” or “you’re gonna get it” too often they eventually will begin to believe what they hear and it can completely ruin their confidence and/or self-esteem.

In a research article by Dr. Bahr Weiss (Vanderbilt University) and colleagues, Dr. Weiss states that, “Structural equation modeling indicated a consistent relation between harsh discipline and aggression in 2 separate cohorts of children.” Further, Dr. Weiss suggests  that, “our analyses suggested that the effect of harsh discipline on child aggression may be mediated at least in part by maladaptive social information processing patterns that develop in response to the harsh discipline.”

So harsh discipline doesn’t seem to be a positive method of teaching the kids to behave. But, what do we do when they really push it too far? How do you control your urge to get mad, yell and criticize when things get out of control? We’ve listed some things below that may be able to help. You can read more into these suggestions by visiting

Some Alternatives

1. Plan ahead (Pick 3 things that tip you off and set goals to do better when those events happen)

2. Write in a journal (keep it handy so you can jot down behaviors that make you upset when they occur. It gives you time to think and not react suddenly/harshly)

3. Express yourself (Instead of going off, tell them exactly how you feel when they do something.)

4. Mommy timeout (…sometimes even grownups need to take a few and relax to think about what’s going on and how to make it better)

5. Use 1 word (This is for repetitive misbehavior. Pick a word that the child will recognize is associated with the incidence. Instead of going off when they forget to make their bed just say, “BED!”)

6. Laugh (find a way to make the situation funny)

7. Learn what to expect from your children (different age levels bring different behaviors and it is unrealistic to expect too difficult of behaviors from children at certain ages.)

Hope you enjoyed this post and got some ideas. Please feel free to share you thoughts and ideas with us and the community. Happy parenting… and don’t forget to assign those chores!

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  1. mrs. susan doe says:

    you just blessed me with this advance. that is one of my challenges cos i get bad when my kids misbehave but with this tip i know that things will be better. thank u so much

  2. Joe says:

    Thank you for sharing Susan. There are many others who feel the same and have the same challenges. It’s impressive that you recognize it and want to make a change.

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