Looking for Regional Information?

Understanding Child Disipline

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/7/2007 | Parenting

Child discipline is one of the most important elements of successful parenting, yet more and more, parents just do not know what to do. The first step in establishing a child discipline program is to understand what disciple is and what it is not. This topic causes intense arguments everywhere, as the proponents of spanking clash with those who say it is completely wrong. All agree that reward and punishment discipline methods must change as children get older, time outs may no longer work.


Although punishment is part of some parents' discipline regimens, the two words are not synonymous. You should develop a punishment system for your kids, as well as a rewards system for good behavior. One ingredient in child discipline is the understanding of consequences. It is always best that the punishment fit the crime. Remember just as verbal praise is a powerful reinforcer for most children, verbal scolding can be an effective punishment.


Spanking is a very controversial disciplinary tactic. The use of the word "spanking" to refer to the discipline of children appears to be largely a North American term. Studies conducted over many decades have shown that even a minor amount of spanking increases the likelihood of children growing up into adults with problems of alcoholism, drug abuse, anxiety and depression. Those opposed to spanking argue that non-violent methods of child discipline are not only more humane, but more effective, than physical punishment such as spanking. Disciplinary spanking, when properly applied, can augment nonphysical measures and optimize the process of behavioral control. Some believe to remove spanking from the repertoire of parents of young children could promote child abuse and lead to increased violence among older, unruly children.


How do we effectively implement child discipline? Effective discipline helps our child develop empathy and self-control. Effectiveness of non-violent methods relative to spanking is still debated. You must consider that the use of any single form of discipline becomes less effective if it is used all the time, a process psychologist call habituation. The research of many behavioral psychologist suggest that reward more so than punishment may produce long-term behavioral changes, although punishment may be more effective short-term. Although a child is more likely to comply with parental demands immediately after being hit, he or she will not learn the desired behavior. This leads some to believe physical punishment is no more effective than other methods.

The goal is to learn how to stop poor behavior and other child discipline problems before they become a pattern. Good child discipline changes as the child grows. Regardless of your of your point of view the best child discipline always requires good family communication.