Set clear rules. Give your child a fair opportunity to follow your rules by stating the rules clearly and making sure that your child understands them. Be sure to explain to your child why these rules are important. You may find that you have less need for discipline when your child understands why certain behaviors are appropriate or inappropriate.
Enforce consequences immediately. When a child doesn’t follow the rules, you should enforce the consequences immediately. If there is too much of a lag time between the act and the consequence, children will fail to associate the consequence with the misbehavior. Moreover, if you wait to execute the consequences, you may be more likely to lose your temper and be tempted to yell and spank if the infraction occurs a second time.
Be consistent. Once you set these rules and consequences, be consistent in enforcing them. HealthyPlace.com advises parents not to be swayed by crying or pleading on the child’s part when an infraction occurs. Inconsistent behavior on your part will simply confuse the child or she won’t take the rules seriously. When she has no doubt that you will enforce the consequences, she will be more likely to follow the rules.
Praise good behavior. Kids should be praised, thanked or otherwise encouraged for good behavior. Unell and Dr. Wyckoff say that you should praise the child’s behavior more than the child himself. For example, you might say, “That’s really great that you finished your homework before turning on the television. Good job.” This type of encouragement is a positive way of restating the rule and reminding children of your expectations for them.