How to Discipline Without Yelling

Discipline can be a very difficult area of parenting. We love our kids and we never want to see them upset, but the reality is that kids need rules, structure, and even discipline. The good thing is that discipline doesn't have to include yelling. When disciplining a child, we never want to yell, be mean or hurtful, or attack his character. We may have the urge to do some of these things, but it is important that we never show it as kids absorb everything we do and say. It is crucial that our kids know how much we love them regardless of their behavior. So, if we need to discipline our kids, but are not going to yell, what do we do? Read on to learn how to tackle discipline in a loving and respectful manner.

  • Imagine you are relaxing at home on a Sunday afternoon with no where to be and nothing to do (if only!). Suddenly your child misbehaves and is in need of some discipline. You have the time and opportunity to bestow your best disciplining yet! Here’s how you can handle it…

  • Calm Down: We are often angry when our children misbehave. Calm down before addressing your child and remember that she is in fact, just a child.
  • Discuss: Briefly discuss what just happened. Focus on naming the unwanted behavior and still be sure to avoid labelling your child as, "bad, naughty, mean, careless." If necessary, name the behavior yourself and keep it objective to what you witnessed.
  • Sit Together: Find a quiet area in the house for just the two of you to sit comfortably. Try to make the situation relaxing and not intimidating (don't sit across a table from each other).
  • Next Time: Ask your child what she should do next time. This encourages her to think about her choices and plan for a similar situation.
  • Logical Consequence: Children need consequences. However, many parents hand out illogical and random consequences. No TV for breaking a toy doesn't make sense and doesn't teach your child anything. Logical consequences are consequences that match the behavior. If your child breaks a toy, then she cannot play with toys for the rest of the day. If your child hits another child, then he will need to play alone for a period of time. The consequence needs to be a direct result of the offending behavior. I can't stress this enough.
  • Hug It Out: Give your child a hug, kiss, high five, or whatever works for you two. Make sure your child knows you still love her and that you have moved on from the incident. Don't let it linger or hold a grudge.
  • Imagine you are at the park on a Saturday morning. You aren't in the comfort and privacy of your own home, but you aren't rushing out the door either. Here’s how you can handle it…

  • Calm Down: Calm down before addressing your child and remember that she is in fact, just a child.
  • Discuss: Briefly discuss what just happened. Focus on naming the unwanted behavior and still be sure to avoid labelling your child as, "bad, naughty, mean, careless." If necessary, name the behavior yourself and keep it objective to what you witnessed.
  • Next Time: Ask your child what she should do next time. This encourages her to think about her choices and plan for a similar situation.
  • Logical Consequence: Provide an immediate and logical consequence. It should be applied right away and should be a direct effect of the behavior.
  • Hug It Out: Give your child a hug, kiss, high five, or whatever works for you two. Make sure your child knows you still love her and that you have moved on from the incident. Don't let it linger or hold a grudge.
  • Imagine you are literally running out the door. You need to deal with a behavior fast. Here’s how you can handle it…

  • Calm Down: Calm down before addressing your child and remember that she is in fact, just a child.
  • Name It: Name the unwanted behavior and keep it objective to what you witnessed.
  • Logical Consequence: Provide an immediate and logical consequence. It should be applied right away and should be a direct effect of the behavior.
  • Hug It Out: Give your child a hug, kiss, high five, or whatever works for you two. Make sure your child knows you still love her and that you have moved on from the incident. Don't let it linger or hold a grudge.

Hopefully these tips will help you to discipline with kindness and respect. The key points to remember are to remain calm and kind, discuss what happened, and provide a logical consequence. We need our kids to learn important life lessons, but we also want them to know how much we care for them and that we understand that poor choices sometimes happen. Anything else you do to discipline without yelling? Let me know in the comments!

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An education blog created by Kim. A former elementary school teacher turned stay-at-home mom. Useful tips and tricks from a teacher to parents.

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