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Ten Guidelines for Effective Discipline of Children

  • The goal of discipline is to teach children acceptable behavior. Whenever possible, teach children what you want to see rather than punishing them.
  • View children's misbehavior as a mistake in judgment. It will be easier to think of ways to teach more acceptable behavior.
  • Never hit or shake infants. They do not know right from wrong. They do not misbehave on purpose. They need love and protection, not punishment.
  • Create a safe environment for children. Baby-proof the house. Distract or remove infants and toddlers when they are doing something they shouldn't be doing.
  • Provide order and consistency. Whenever possible, have regular times for meals, studying, and bedtime.
  • Give toddlers and preschoolers age-appropriate choices and consequences.
  • Establish family rules that are appropriate for children's ages. Keep them few in number with clear and reasonable consequences for not obeying.
  • Develop a trusting relationship with children by protecting them from harm, by being honest and trustworthy, and by exhibiting predictable and mature behavior.
  • Children need to hear more good things about themselves than bad things. Offer praise for appropriate behavior. Praise will increase that behavior.
  • Adopt a "no-hitting" attitude. No one has a right to hit anyone else in the household ... that includes hitting children for misbehavior.

This list (retrieved February 1, 2008) is reprinted by permission of The Center for Effective Discipline. See the Center's website for other resources and further information at http://www.stophitting.com.