Begging and pleading with your child to stop bad behaviour is ineffective.
Begging and pleading with your child to stop bad behaviour is ineffective.

Every parent will ask themselves at some point: How do I make sure my child isn’t the one embarrassingly screaming down the grocery store when I tell him he can’t have any candy. Or the one that keeps hitting all their friends at play dates.

There’s nothing worse than feeling like everyone is judging you while you are trying to make parenting decisions in the grocery store and no one wants to have their child banned from play dates.


Discipline should be viewed more as a means of teaching children rather than reacting negatively to a situation.

That doesn’t mean that we need to get philosophical on our children.

But instead teaching them that what they are doing is inappropriate and that there will be swift and meaningful consequences to their undesirable actions.

When you tell your child no they can’t have any candy at the store and they start to scream, handing them the candy is basically like waving a white flag that says you’ve surrendered to your child and they have won.

Telling a child several times that hitting hurts Sally and they continue to do it basically allows them to continue hitting Sally. Children are essentially unsympathetic little tyrants that don’t yet have the capacity to be rational with their thoughts and actions.

Stepping in and stopping your child from hitting Sally –– whether it’s by taking him away from the situation or distracting him with a more appropriate way of playing says you mean business.

There’s absolutely nothing effective about hearing yourself saying the same thing over and over again –– do you really enjoy hearing yourself say 10 times over ‘Billy stop throwing your food on the ground, Billy stop throwing your food on the ground, Billy stop throwing your food on the ground…”

You get my drift, if Billy isn’t listening by the second time you’ve made the request, it’s a good chance he’s not going to do what you’re asking of him.

Refer back to my earlier statement about children being miniature dictators.

Unless you make the consequences of their actions real and firm your child will never take you seriously and they will continue to walk all over you for years to come.

Children are constantly testing us and, while they are learning about the world around them and appropriate behaviours, there will be bumps along the way.

Yes, it does mean that there will probably be earth shattering tantrums at the checkout line at the grocery store or that play time will be cut short because of inappropriate actions, but the way we handle these situations will help our children build boundaries and hopefully become more compassionate in their actions.

Yelling, spanking or using aggressive behaviour towards your child only reinforces the bad behaviour –– there are other ways to make yourself heard than resorting to these actions no matter how trying and difficult the situation.

I recently attended one of the parent workshops put on by the Child Development Programme.

They are a great resource, and the 1,2,3,4 Parents classes provided a great reference book and a chance to hear other parents discuss what works for them in terms of discipline.

Having a tool kit that you can easily refer to every time a trying situation takes place can make it easier for all involved.

Take tantrums, for instance, no matter how well-behaved a child you have, there will be times when they will throw the most incredible fit.

It will definitely be when you are busy, preoccupied and trying to get things done. In these times it’s critical to have some easy solutions you can use quickly and effectively.


Some things that I have tried that have worked in the past include:

-Staying calm.

-Staying close and letting my child know it is okay to be angry.

-Not giving into what my child wants to get him to stop yelling and screaming.

-Being firm and moving him out of the situation, if possible.

-Giving him some time to calm down away from the situation

Most importantly, make sure your child feels loved and that they can rely on their parents to guide them into making appropriate choices.

For more information about behavioural management classes put on by the Child Development Programme, visit their website or call 295-0746.