Advice and Tips

Discipline vs Punishment

Discipline is not the same as punishment

What do you do when you have tried everything possible to calm and reason with your child?

Here are tips from parents :

Positive discipline involves teaching your child to behave in ways that fit in with your family’s rules and that are generally socially acceptable.

“I don’t use any form of bad discipline,” says Elise from Leamington Spa, “just lots of good attention when they do something right.”


Punishment, such as smacking, won’t get you anywhere. Not only can it be harmful – it’s also ineffective. Research has shown that it always makes tantrums worse.

“When your child is being naughty, DON’T SMACK,  says Mrs Halliwell from Wigan. “Distract them with something like a toy or even finding a book and reading a story.”

Positive discipline works best using love, praise, encouragement and a good example to get your toddler to behave well – not waiting till he behaves badly before you notice, then rushing in to smack or shout.”




Tantrum control

When you’ve tried everything with your child and he or she is still intent on throwing a wobbly, what then?

1 Count to ten!

If your child loses it, the worst thing you can do is lose it too. So try not to shout or, worse, lash out with a smack. It will only make the situation worse.

 “Do everything you can to stay calm yourself. Breathe deeply, count to ten, tune out whining, pause before you act – try not to let your child ‘press your buttons’.”

“Remain calm,” says Jane from Stoke-on-Trent, “and even if you are screaming inside, don’t show it. It’s hard but they are not toddlers for long!” “Count to ten,” says Nicola from St Leonards-on-Sea, “and reflect on the situation before reacting. You will often regret what you do if you act in haste.”

“The first thing to do is take a deep breath,” suggests Alan from Blackpool, “and then think to yourself that these people around me don’t know me and will probably never see me again.That way, you are dealing with the child, not your embarrassment.”

2 Lighten up

Remember that toddlers are learning to navigate a complicated world. Don’t expect them to be rational or reasonable in the adult sense because they’re not. According to parents, taking a step back and seeing the funny side can often help.

Laughter can work especially well for toddler discipline, defusing tricky situations, and avoiding battles where everybody loses and feels bad. It often helps to laugh at yourself as an adult – when you are rigidly insisting on a particular behaviour from your toddler, you are probably taking yourself too seriously.

”Rachel from Dyfer recommends that, “when youjust feel like screaming, try instead to turn it into alaugh. Laughing at something releases so much tension and it’s infectious.Where you and your toddler were at loggerheads over something one minute, the next you’re laughing at the same thing, together!”

One mum said she carried a sign saying ‘Tantrum in progress’ to hold up at the appropriate moment – passers-by would smile or laugh, and her daughter would often forget the tantrum.

” Try not to forget which of you is the child! As Louise from Madley explains:“As we are both very stubborn, some days I have to dig very deep to remember that I am the parent – reasonable, level-headed and in control – and she is a one stone wonder who should be given the benefit of the doubt!”

3 Tender loving care

Sometimes holding your child firmly in a tight hug and reassuring him in a quiet voice works well but only if you can remain calm.

“When my toddlers threw a temper tantrum I would just stand there and watch for a few seconds, then gently pick them up and give them a good cuddle, never raising my voice but also telling them that their behaviour is unacceptable,” remembers

Geraldine from Yateley. Caroline from Cheshire swears by whispering: “When a small child is having a tantrum, crouch down to their level and whisper in their ear. It works far better than shouting because they have to stop crying to listen to you. Use key words that your child will pick up on. Bob the Builder works for me!”

4 Repeat after me

Whatever happens, keep reminding yourself that:

It’s perfectly normal for toddlers to test everything, including your patience.

You are only human.“That way,” says Clare from Newport, “you limit the stress you feel when she insists on wearing blue shoes instead of trainers or when she goes completely berserk because you wouldn’t let her press the start button on the microwave.”


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