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What are some good ways to discipline children, according to experts?

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Quick Answer

Some ways experts recommend disciplining children include rewarding positive behavior, timeouts and letting kids learn from their mistakes. Some other ideas to guide children's behavior are keeping a child-friendly environment and offering choices.

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Full Answer

Katarzyna Bisaga, M.D., Ph.D., a child and adolescent psychiatrist and assistant clinical professor in Columbia University's Division of Child Psychiatry, suggests rewarding positive behavior, though believes that it is important for discipline to be tailored to each child's personality and behavior. The idea behind rewarding positive behavior is that once a child gets praise and positive rewards, he is more likely to cooperate in other situations. An idea for rewarding positive behavior is implementing a rewards chart.

Dr. Bisaga has also utilizes the timeout approach for discipline. This allows the child to calm down and think before reacting. She recommends telling the child what the desired behavior is, rather than stating a vague directive such as "I want you to behave." She also states that an important element to making a discipline philosophy work is keeping it consistent.

Julia C. Torquati, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Science at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln holds the belief that as long as consequences are age-appropriate and fit the misbehavior, an appropriate action is letting kids learn from the results of their actions. She also states that it is important to help the child see the emotional connection.

Dr. Torquati also addresses the idea of preventing conflict whenever possible. She advocates for a child-friendly environment, such as keeping fragile objects out of reach from a toddler rather than telling the child repeatedly not to touch things. She also values letting children have a sense of control by offering them choices when possible.

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