Health Topics

General Principles of Discipline

While every child is different, most children need to be given consistent, clear rules and expectations about behavior. The following are some general principles about discipline:

  • Discipline needs to begin as soon as the child is mobile - pulling up and crawling.
  • Young infants rely on their parents to provide a safe environment.
  • Discipline should be age-focused and should teach age-appropriate behaviors.
  • Try to recognize and praise desirable behavior.
  • Be a good role model for your child.
  • After the discipline occurs, make sure the child knows it is the behavior you are not happy with, not the child.
  • Physical punishment is not needed or appropriate.
  • Spoken rewards for good behavior should be immediate. ("I’m really proud of the way you shared your toy.”)
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Decrease Unwanted Behavior

Methods of Discipline for Different Ages


Last Updated: 10/2011