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Parenting Advice

Parenting: Thoughts on Consequences and Positive Discipline Techniques


Jane Nelsen (Positive Discipline. Ballentine Books, 2006) points out that misbehavior is all about power and the struggle to see who holds the power. Remember, it takes two people to participate in a power struggle. Win/lose situations are never good. We need to move to a win/win situation where there is trust and closeness, not “blame, shame or pain” (either physically or emotionally). For this to occur, parents need to avoid engaging in a struggle for power.

Effective Discipline

  1. Have sensible expectations; 2-3 year old children will not behave as adults.

  2. Don’t have unnecessary directions. This can lead to conflict situations.

  3. Allow the child to learn from your example. Remember that you are the role model and your child is attempting to be like you.

  4. It is normal for your child to make mistakes. It is part of the learning process. It is not necessary to draw attention to most mistakes. This action can lead to low self-esteem, which in turn will lead to a multiple of issues later in the child’s life.

  5. Don’t over discipline, don’t fight over trivial things, this makes the home negative and clouds the real issue.

  6. Encourage the good. Ignore and underplay the undesirable behavior whenever possible.

  7. If you see a problem, (e.g. tantrum arising) try to divert the child’s attention.

  8. Be kind but firm. When you mean it, say it with conviction and see it through. Say only what you mean but mean what you say.

  9. Be firm – look at his eyes when you want something done. Avoid arguments. Don’t respond to their argument. If a home is happy and safe, never be afraid to be firm.



These are an expression of inner frustration. They can be an expression of impatience and a lack of ability to deal with situations. Tantrums, like some crying, are the young child’s way of communicating when he is unable to express his feelings with words. Bear this in mind when responding to it. Unnecessary responses by you, encourages this type of communication.


There are a multitude of reasons for a child’s frustration and subsequent tantrums. If a young child becomes frustrated because he has plans and designs, which are way ahead of his technical ability, then this is the last place of punishment. Rather he needs a helping hand and comfort. If a child is sick or not feeling himself, he may be more susceptible to having a tantrum. An understanding and gentle approach is in order. However, when authority is challenged, the parents must be kind, but consistent and firm. If a child has a tantrum because he wants a candy or other treat, this is the last place to give in to his demands. In general, do not give unnecessary direction or demands to the child as this can lead to needless conflicts and subsequent challenges. When a child has difficulty coping with particular situations, e.g. illness, than try to reassure his that everything will be alright and try not to express the fact that he is ill in front of him. This only leads to more anxiety. Plan ahead. Know what your response is going to be for a variety of scenarios. e.g. if he picks up a socially unacceptable expression, you may tell him that that expression is rude and on shouldn’t say it. Then we make sure we do not role model that expression ourselves. Importantly we ignore his further use of it. With no response, the child will learn that it is an ineffective way to communicate and will soon stop using that expression.

Symptoms of Hyperactivity

         A hyperactive child may have many but not necessarily all of the following symptoms:

  1. Poor attention

  2. Impulsive

  3. Never satisfied

  4. Overactive

  5. Variable performance (behavior fluctuates from day to day)

  6. Disorganization, i.e. right/left confusion, late in learning to tie shoelaces, puts on clothes back to front, messy eater, finds it hard to perform two actions at the same time, finds it difficult to do things in sequence.

  7. Social handicap – low tolerance of failure, will act silly to gain attention.

  8. Clumsiness

  9. Poor self esteem

  10. Language

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