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When it comes to children, we all want and expect our children to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner and be “good” kids.  Unfortunately, many parents do not understand that children need to be shown how to behave properly.  They simply expect their child to behave and if they do not, they are corrected, and sometimes inappropriately. 

First of all, the type of discipline you use with your child should depend upon the age of the child.  A child under the age of two does not generally understand what is going on around them and therefore, it is best if you remove all temptation from your child.  For example, if you do not want your child to touch your collectable glassware, it is best to remove it from your child’s reach. 

Once the child has reached the age of three, you can begin to teach your child the rules of your home and expected behavior.  Your child will begin to understand the concept of consequences of inappropriate behavior.  However, do not punish your child for doing something  they were not aware was wrong.  If you have not discussed that particular rule the child has broken, let them know in a calm tone that the behavior was wrong and while there is no consequence for the first time, there will be if they commit the behavior again.

When setting up consequences for the age of three-to-five year olds, make sure the punishment matches the crime.  Do not tell the child they can not play for the rest of the day.   A general rule of thumb to go by is to put the child in a time-out or their room for one minute for each year they are.  If they are five-years old, their time-out should be no more than five minutes.

The main thing to remember in teaching your child good behavior is to set consequences for the inappropriate behavior and reward for good behavior.  If your child is constantly told what they are doing wrong and not rewarded for their good behavior, it will be harder for them to understand.  However, if they do something wonderful, like share a toy with their sister, let them know how wonderful it was for them to do that and give them a special treat, whether an extra ten minutes of reading to them before bed or a special cookie and milk session with Mom.  These rewards will go along way in helping your child to behave in a correct manner.

Of course, the older your child, the different consequences you can set up.  For example, if your child is eight, you can take away the television for the rest of the day or if thirteen, you can take the telephone away for a week.  Again, if they surprise you with good behavior, reward them, too.  Just because your child is older, doesn’t mean they do not want their good behavior acknowledged.

Whether you choose to set up a time-out station or send your child to their room when they have misbehaved, remember that you are teaching your child to behave appropriately.  If you choose to spank your child, you are simply teaching them that one inappropriate behavior turns to another.