Parenting takes patience — loads and loads of patience that I often feel inadequate to provide my kids. I’m at my worst when I’m worked up by the actions of my children, and lose my temper while trying to discipline them. It’s a problem that I’m trying to work through and improve upon.

I imagine that many parents are in the same boat. It’s easy to get angry and toss out punishment without thinking. But that does a disservice to us and especially to our kids. It also usually devolves into tears and hard feelings and that creates an unhealthy dynamic.

Here are some ways to make discipline more effective for all involved.

1. Anticipate a Backlash

Children are going to go for your weak spot. It’s a reality. They learn quickly how to manipulate you for their gain. That will make your discipline seem ineffective and hollow. Anticipate that your children will try these tricks to undermine you. If you’re prepared, you’ll be ready to counter-attack.

2. Be Civilized

These moments of punishment and angst bring heightened emotion on both sides. It can get testy quickly and it’s really not necessary. When you get upset at your child and prepare to lash out, breathe. Take a moment. Consider your options before tossing out a punishment that may be impossible to fulfill or too harsh.

3. Try Not to Yell

Yelling only makes the situation tense and only serves to make your children frightened of you. It also teaches your children the wrong way to handle problems.

4. Let Things Cool Down

If you are really worked up, it might make more sense to give yourself time to calm down before dispensing a punishment. Your child will know that they’ve screwed up and with a rational, reasoned response your punishment will have more of an impact.  

5. Reinforce With Discussion Afterwards

The punishment is only the first part of the discipline. Once your child has served a time-out or another punishment, sit down with your child and have a calm discussion with them about why they were punished, and what they can do to improve their behavior in the future.

6. Do Not Give In

The absolute worst thing you can do in these situations is to cave in and let them out of a punishment. If you told them they cannot watch television, use a tablet, or go outside to play, then follow through on the punishment. Do not let them out early. It will set a precedent that your child will try to exploit in the future.

How do you effectively discipline your kids? Share with us in the comments!