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No parent enjoys disciplining a child, but we all know that it’s necessary.  We want our children to grow up to be decent, responsible people, so we have to start enforcing rules at a young age. 

The best way to avoid having to administer discipline often is to cultivate good techniques and apply them consistently.  If children know they can get away with something, they will.  However, if they know the rules, the consequences, and that Mom and Dad will apply the consequences every time they display inappropriate behaviors, they will soon avoid those behaviors.  

There is of course some room for flexibility, and a child should never be punished for true accidents.  However, being too easy does not teach your child to be accountable for his or her choices, and it certainly doesn’t teach children to respect their parents’ values and wishes.

Mom and Dad also have to be prepared to let their children face natural consequences when they behave badly or act irresponsibly.  For example, if your daughter hits another child at school and gets into trouble, you must support the school’s reaction instead of trying to bail her out. 

One example of natural consequences is if your child does not clean his room and then cannot find his favorite toy.  Parents must learn not to rush in to find the toy for the child.  The suffering is minimal, although it may not seem that way if the child is crying, but natural consequences will help a child learn responsibility. 

If you remain consistent, you will soon learn the benefits of applied and natural consequences.  Your child’s behavior will improve and your home will be a much calmer place.