Disciplining Your Child

Next to love, one of the biggest gifts we can give our children is clear limits. Clear limits help them feel safe and secure. But when is the right time to begin setting these limits?

A good time to start is around the first year, when children begin to understand what is okay and what is not. We help them when we have clear and reasonable expectations.

As your child grows, offer her choices and involve her in making the rules. This helps her become independent and accept responsibility for her actions. If you set a good example and praise appropriate behavior, your job will be much easier.

Dealing with Difficult Behaviors
Dealing with Difficult Behavior
Corina says, “First, I look at Kayla to make sure she is paying attention. Then I explain, very simply, why her behavior needs to change. I always offer her a couple of choices we can live with.”

You Can't Spoil a Baby

You Can’t Spoil a Baby

Give your baby prompt, loving attention. Babies feel insecure and anxious when their needs are not met. When your baby does something you don’t like, gently move him or remove a dangerous object from his path.

Babies are fragile. Hitting or shaking a baby can cause brain damage or even death. Yelling upsets babies. If you feel that you might lose your temper or hurt your baby, get help right away. Put him in his crib, walk into the next room and count to 10. Then call a friend or this confidential helpline: Child Abuse Hotline.

Things You Can Do

Where to Find Help

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Guiding Toddlers and Young Children

  • Guiding Toddlers and Young Children
    By 15 months of age, children begin to understand how to behave. You can set a few simple limits, such as not running into the street, hurting people or animals, or damaging things.
    Children ages 3 to 4 are better able to understand and do what you expect. Be consistent and praise appropriate behavior.
    • Set a good example.
    • Offer several choices that you can accept.
    • Help children express their feelings with words, rather than hitting.
    • Avoid spanking or hitting. It can hurt your child physically and emotionally.
    • Criticize the behavior, not the child. “Don’t run into the street. You could get hurt!” is better than “You’re a bad boy!”
    • Be specific. “Draw on the paper”