5 Common Discipline Mistakes

There’s no such thing as the perfect parent. Every parent makes mistakes, though hopefully not too many! Discipline is one of the areas parents have trouble with most, and if you’re having issues with your kids, review the following common discipline mistakes and what to do instead:

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Losing Your Temper

Screaming at your kids isn’t going to do much…except terrify them. You don’t want them to fear you, and studies show children respond much better to calm commands and requests. Keep your temper in check and see if you don’t have much better-behaved kiddies. Besides, anger just creates a wall between you and your children that will last well into adulthood.


Bribery is not, repeat, not a healthy way of getting your kids to do what you want. It does nothing to teach them right from wrong, rather it emphasizes that testing you and your patience is a way to get something. It’s one thing to reward your child with the occasional ice cream for a good performance in school, it’s another to offer gallons of the sweet stuff to get the kid to clean the bathroom. Focus on explaining why it’s important to do this or that instead of resorting to bribes.

Idle Threats

If you want to make absolutely sure your children never listen to you, make idle threats you never follow up on. Don’t threaten to take away TV time or a favorite toy if the child doesn’t behave and never do it. In the same vein, avoid making “Wait till your father comes home!” threats, as it stresses to children that Dad is the real authority in the house who’s worth listening to, not you. Give warnings instead, and if they don’t work, sentence younglings to time-outs.

Break Your Own Rules

Turning into a “Do as I say, not as I do” parent is never a good thing. For example, if you teach your children not to leave their clothes in the hallway, don’t leave your own clothes in the hallway! Double standards are confusing, so be mindful of your behavior and make sure you aren’t going back on household rules.

No Explanation

It’s important to remember that kids are just that: kids. They are not miniature adults who understand everything you say. For example, if you tell them to stop complaining with no explanation about what the word means, they aren’t going to stop. Remember that you’re talking to “green” humans who look to you to learn about the world and everything in it. They aren’t out to get you…they’re your children!