Discipline is a critical aspect of effective parenting. According to Michael Brody, a psychiatrist, discipline helps in civilizing the child to live in society. But even when children understand what they are expected to do, they often test their parent’s limits. Most of the time, kids do this as they seek to know how far they can go before they account for their actions. When disciplining your child, keep in mind that the end goal of discipline is to teach your child how to behave responsibly. Here are 7 ways to discipline your child:

Talk about it
When your child starts acting up, the first and best response is to sit them down and have an open discussion about their behavior. Use the discussion to point out consequences that accompany bad behavior to enable the kid see the chain of events that are triggered by misbehavior. When talking about the child’s behavior does not seem to work or you are simply talked out, it is time to apply other more effective techniques.

Reward good behavior
Positive reinforcement can get you more mileage in some circumstances, unlike negative reinforcement-upon which most disciplinary tactics are based on. To encourage good behaviors that you want to see in your child, consider positive reinforcement by giving rewards when the child does something commendable.

Though positive reinforcement is a good technique of encouraging good behavior, avoid giving rewards for everything the child does well. Most of the time, just saying “good job. I’m really glad you did that,” when a child cleans up after himself is good enough. However, there are times when you need to give a reward when the child does something extraordinary.

Neutralize arguments
Neutralizing arguments is one of the 7 ways to discipline your child effectively. Naturally, kids have a tendency to pick arguments in an effort to defend their actions not matter how outrageous their behavior is. If you intend to neutralize arguments, steer clear of no-win arguments. If your child says “All my friends watch TV throughout the weekend,” say “I know.” In some instances when you need to enforce rules you have already established, you can say, “And what did I say?”

Establish consistent rules
Most parents find it easier to make rules than to stick to them. As a result, they often turn a blind eye when children act contrary to the established rules and regulations. When you do not enforce the rules you have set down, everything you say is put to question. The problem of not being consistent with rules is that children do not know what to expect from their parents, and they are never sure about which rules to follow.

Establish clear limits and stick to them
One important aspect of how to discipline your child involves putting in place well-founded structures and rules for kids. Children thrive when there are well-established structures and boundaries. Rather than put down countless rules, focus on the most basic rules that are critical for the well-being of the family.

To make it easy to follow these basic rules, make sure they are simple and clear. For effectiveness, just make it clear what is expected and what is not acceptable. Instead of waiting until the child breaks the rules to learn about the consequences, let everyone understand what happens when they do not behave according to the established rules and regulations. And have the courage to follow through with the consequences when kids break those rules.

While you may occasionally want to back down for fear of raining on your child’s party, keep in mind that children only become responsible when there are limits. Rules and structure give children a sense of security since they know that their parents are watching out for their best interest. Over time as the kids get older, you can revise and relax the rules, however, do not throw out the rule book.

Take away or withhold privileges related to the crime
Withholding privileges is one of the 7 ways to discipline your child and the first line of defense against toddler indiscipline. To help the kid link the offense to the consequences, the sentence should come quickly after the infarction. This means that you do not punish the child in the evening for an offense they committed in the morning. By the time evening comes around, the kid will have long forgotten about the crime and the looming consequences.

Time outs or thinking time
Time out is one of the 7 ways to discipline your child and a
popular technique of dealing with errant behavior in children. The basic concept behind this approach stipulates that giving your time-out gives the child some space to cool off and regain control after misbehaving. The technique also comes with the added benefit of denying the child attention (children generally love attention). In addition, the technique can be customized to fit the toddler’s age and offensiveness of the specific crime committed-by extending or shortening it. And it works perfectly whether at home or out on the playground.

Though time out is a great approach for instilling discipline in toddlers, it has its own shortcomings. If you are at the grocery store or in the car, instituting time-out can be tough. And if your toddler does not intend to cooperate with you, time-outs can be hard to enforce.

To make time-out work, you need to:
Select an appropriate spot for time-outs-If you intend to master the art how to discipline your toddler using the time-out method, you need to choose a spot without any activities or items that the toddler can use to distract her attention. The ideal place should also be within your view. And by all means, avoid using the child’s room as time out spot. You do not want the child to link these places with punishment.

Act, not talk-Telling your toddler how much you hate it when they jump around on the coach, yell or hit their brother does not mean anything to her. Rather than talk sense to your toddler, you simply need to issue one warning to stop her from what she is doing-you can even count to 5 to give her room to rectify her behavior. If she does not stop, just inform her of the coming consequences using few words and proceed to escort her to the time-out spot. Keep in mind that she is supposed to sit there in silence until you let her out.

Avoid giving in-If you said one minute in the time-out spot, it should be 60 seconds. To help both of you know when the time is up, consider setting a timer. If the child decides to act up by fussing or moving from the spot, return her to the time-out spot and reset the clock. In some circumstances, you need to do this several times before the toddler realizes that you mean business.

The above 7 ways to discipline your child are handy, practical tips on how to deal with errant behavior in your kid. These techniques are aimed at helping your kid grow up to be a responsible person. While most people equate discipline with punishment, this is not always true.

Discipline is about teaching, correcting and guiding. When you discipline a child, you are giving them the tools needed to master better behavior. While you might feel that some of the 7 ways to discipline your child stipulated above are too harsh, just sit back and contemplate the effects of children growing up in an environment where anything is permissible.