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5 Discipline Mistakes Parents Make

The Common Discipline Mistakes Moms Make (and Regret)

"Kids will do well if they can" is a basic mantra that Dr. Ross Greene, acclaimed psychologist and director of Lives in the Balance, asks parents to keep in mind when dealing with kids.

Moms will do well if they can, too, although when it comes to discipline, we don't always do it as well as we can. Keep reading for some of the most common discipline mistakes moms make and regret.

1. Disciplining For Normal Kid Behavior

"He makes silly noises, weird voices, the sound effects are amazing and when he's not being irritating, he's a bear," Kelly R. says about her 9-year-old son. Like Kelly, I wonder sometimes what's normal behavior for my kids.


With a little one, a middle-size one, and a teenager in my house, it's sometimes hard for me to switch gears to remember what behavior is developmentally appropriate for each age. I get mad with them for doing annoying things before I remember that's just what kids do at their ages. And then, of course, I regret losing it just because my kids are being kids.

2. Yelling and Screaming

Losing it looks different for every mom. It's one thing, as moms say, to yell up the stairs or across the house to your child, but it's quite another to yell at them. Nicole P. knows that yelling isn't a good discipline technique and she feels like all she's doing by yelling at her son is teaching him to disrespect her as she is disrespecting him.

Yelling is more often a sign of frustration and mental exhaustion than it is a genuine attempt to solve a problem. It's saying "Stop!," instead of saying, "Here's what needs to happen instead." As Lisa D. points out, yelling and screaming puts the kids more in charge.

3. Being Inconsistent and Not Following Through

I recently read a post by mommy blogger Bad Playdate about watching a mom chase her kid around at a birthday party. The mom had her child counting to three and in time-out the whole party. While the 1-2-3 Magic technique works for many, the key is consistency and follow-through, not persistence!

Mom Jenny says she has tried many different discipline techniques with her son for the past six years, but hasn't found one that works. She admits that she thinks a lot of the problem is that she's not consistent, something she regrets and is working to fix.

4. Not Disciplining Each Child as an Individual

When you have more than one child, it's easy to slip into a one-type-fits-all way of discipline, but it's something that Susan M., a mother of 10, recommends parents avoid. She says if she's learned nothing else as mom to many, it's that children react differently to discipline — some kids are devastated if you just look at them the wrong way.

5. Thinking Discipline and Punishment Are Interchangeable

When moms are asked the questions "How can parents know when a discipline technique is just too harsh for a child?" and "What types of punishment do you think are appropriate and what types aren't?,"some are uncomfortable with the questions themselves. The problem is that discipline and punishment aren't interchangeable and some moms regret not thinking of it that way sooner.

Mom Carrie B. points out that discipline is a way to teach kids self-control and boundaries, while punishment focuses only on what's wrong and forces parents to come up with ways to penalize the behavior instead of modifying it.

The good news is that mistakes can be remedied and you can move forward to using more positive techniques that will make you feel better about yourself. Jodi, a reformed yeller, says it well: "I'm much better now than I used to be — I've actually found a lot more patience with age."

Image Source: Corbis Images
DebbiePreece DebbiePreece 3 years

As a young mother, my coping skills were my weak link to happy parenting. I found my frustration growing as my children learned to ignore my edicts and challenge my authority. Counting to three didn't help, and yelling made me feel guilty. Because my coping skills lacked, my consistency lacked. Then one desperate day I discovered a most exciting and simply unique parenting app that helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel! It was called the Happy Face Token System. It claimed to bring happy faces to me and my children within three weeks and provided a built-in consistency factor that guaranteed my success. It seemed too good to be true. I had tried every chart known to man, but nothing seemed to last. With one simple reward chart, that didn't require my time or money to purchase prizes, my children started working, getting along, and learning to display characteristics I never thought were possible. They were trying to tell the truth, and cheerfully finding ways to serve each other and began to incorporate self-management skills to build a happy family as they learned how to clean house, accept responsibility and contribute to a happy society. I developed the ability to mean what I said, and gained back my authority as a parent. Soon the children were calling me the best mom in the whole world and thanking me for all I did for them. There is a book called From Combat Zone to Love at Home, that says it all! It works and I am so grateful. It is a long-term family program that helps parents discipline with unity and is highly adaptable to grow with the children through high school. Many charts and ideas are in the book and they actually work well. But the Reward List is the ultimate, best chart of all and is the only thing I used for many years. It is simple to use and because of the nature of the rewards the children want to help so they can earn tokens.
the web site is
and a good biblical parenting site is http://christcenterdparenting....
This works with children as young as 3 1/2 up to 12 and there are other useful charts for older children.

Jennifer11447727 Jennifer11447727 4 years
Which text book did u get them from
trianamargetts trianamargetts 4 years
i have 5 all need different methods of discipline,my elder 4 think i spoil the little one, by the time i had him i had learned a bit more about how to discipline and stuck to it sometimes hes like a 3 year old sometimes hes 13 nd sometimes hes a very logical 50, i have to wait each morning to see what hes going to be that day one thing i know they all need even if they say they dont is not to be yelled at something sadly i still do on occasionand also to be told you love them no matter how old they are all 5 are boys all still hug me
StaceyAnneVial StaceyAnneVial 4 years
I think every parent will do what's right for their child
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