The Secret to Effective Discipline

My child uses the "no" word far too often, how do I get my child to listen when I ask her to do something?

You want them to clean their room. They say "no." (Or more likely, "In a minute," or "Later," or "Okay"-but then they don't move from in front of the TV.) Time to call in the discipline - a concept many parents either fear, lack or simply misunderstand.

Discipline is simply teaching our children the types of behaviors that are acceptable and unacceptable. When we discipline our children it teaches them to follow the rules and that there are consequences if they don't. Disciplining our children can be a challenge; we don't want them to view us as the villain but we need to set ground rules for who's in charge.

Something I've found beneficial is "When, Then" statements. You can use these for getting your child to something they don't really want to do.. For example, "When you say have cleaned your room, then you may finish playing your video game.

Don't mistake this for a bribe or even a reward, both of which can backfire by creating a "what's in it for me" mentality. Neither is it a punishment, because the child can still have what they want. It simply orders two things that ordinarily occur in your family so that the work has to be done before the play. If you still find your child saying "no" more than usual, try turning one of the activities your child doesn't want to do into something they do want to do using what I like to call the "Mary Poppins" approach:

"Every job that must be done, there is an element of fun, you find the fun, and SNAP, the job's a game." -Mary Poppins

Turn cleaning their room into a sing-a-long. Make collecting the trash and taking it outside a race. This is one of my favorite approaches. Not only is it fun for your child, it also builds their imagination.

Parenting is not a perfect science. The key is finding what works best with our child's personality and matching your requests and discipline to get the most out of them.


Pioneer educator Dr. Michael Popkin is the founder of Active Parenting Publishers and is the author of many award winning video-based parenting education programs. An expert in his field, Dr. Popkin earned a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University and has served as Director of Child and Family Services at an Atlanta hospital.