Without a doubt, this aspect of discipline is the hardest to implement and the least enjoyable component for the child or parent. It is, however, a crucial component and one that is ignored more and more by contemporary experts. Because it is not a “feel-good” topic to present, it is glossed over in parenting manuals and magazines. Correction is more necessary in the early years when self-centeredness is at its peak, and should be less necessary in later years as children are more persuaded with the instruction and affirmation. Correction is necessary to gain a young child’s attention and to require proper behavior, so that later the child will acquire a heart’s desire to obey. Without proper correction, a child is led to believe that misbehavior is acceptable and appropriate. Then, re-training of the older child (which is always more difficult than early initial training) is necessary by someone other than his parents (which also is more difficult than from parents at an early age): a teacher, a coach, an employer, a policeman, or a judge. Don’t neglect to correct! Study your child along the way and learn how to best correct his misbehaving heart.
The need, the use and the specific method of correction will vary depending upon the child’s age and willingness or resistance to comply. Successful parents use the mildest effective corrective measure initially and are not hesitant to use more intense and unpleasant measures if the child’s misbehavior requires it. The following is a basic list of possible corrective measures available to parents:
Techniques of Behavioral Control
Age of Earliest Use Corrective Measure
Infancy Distraction and Removal
12 months Disapproval
12 months Logical and Natural Consequences
12 months Time Out (playpen)
18 months Disciplinary spanking
18 months Time Out (chair)
2 years Basic Reasoning along with other measures
3 ½ years Privilege removal
6 years Reasoning alone
School age Grounding and fining
At times with a toddler, the most effective method of correction is to ignore the behavior. This is often the case with temper tantrums and whining (read more).
The other three areas of the discipline process: