• Use distraction to get your child's attention away from inappropriate behaviors.
  • Stop inappropriate behaviors with a firm ‘no' -explain what they are doing and why they shouldn’t be doing it, what is the right way - while looking your child in the eyes.
  • Physically move your child when he is misbehaving, especially if he didn't respond to your firm ‘no.'
  • Use logical consequences (rewards), for example, if he doesn't put away his bike, then you will do it, but he won't be able to ride it for the rest of the day. For older children, not filling the car with gas can have the consequence of not getting to use the car this week, etc. GIVE GOOD BAHAVIOR A LOT OF ATTENTION to encourage it.
  • Use time-out to remove positive reinforcement or attention when he/she misbehaves. No talking in time out plug put them away from the activity (facing away from activity) Time out is 1 minute per 1 year of age.

           o Time Out Locations: Child can sit on a time-out chair, spot on the carpet/rug, stand up facing

              the corner-away from activities but where you can watch him/her

           o Don’t want to go to Time Out: With smaller children, you can count to 3 (1-2-3) and when you

              get to 3 if they’re not in time out, their time will be doubled. You can also select an activity or

              object you can take away. Tell the child that until they do the time-out, they will not be able to

              use the object or engage in the activity (games, TV, computer, favorite toy, favorite something,


          o Don’t stay in Time Out: You can take them back to time out but instead of walking away stay in

             front of them so they see you are focusing on them and watching them plus let them know you

             will withhold privileges (see below) if they get out of time out again-stick to it. 

  • Withholding privileges is a very effective discipline technique, especially for older children. Find things that he likes or especially enjoys (playing video games, renting movies, going to the mall, talking on the phone, playing in computer, go to bed early, etc), and then take it away as a consequence for misbehaving.

If you are consistent with these Discipline Techniques and stick to what you say, your child will understand that when they don’t listen or misbehave –negative consequences happen. Vice-versa when they listen and behave –positive consequences happen.


• Be consistent in your methods of discipline and how you punish your child. This applies to all caregivers.

• Set up a daily routine for your younger children and try and stick to it each day. This should include mealtimes, snacks, bath and bedtime.

• Provide a safe environment that encourages exploration, but protects your child. For example, you can prevent your toddler from getting in trouble for opening drawers and cabinets if you have safety locks preventing them from opening.

• Set limits that are appropriate for your child's age and developmental level. Remember that you are in charge and that you will have to say ‘no' to your child sometimes. You should expect your child to cry when he does not get his way. This is a normal way of dealing with frustration in younger children and should be ignored. You should also ignore temper tantrums.

• Do not offer choices in situations where you child has to cooperate with your rules. For example, instead of saying ‘do you want to take a bath?' you should instead say ‘it is time for your bath.'

• Don't give in to your child when he is whining, crying or having a temper tantrum. If you do, it will only teach him that this kind of behavior is an appropriate way to get what he wants.

• Learn to ignore minor, harmless or unimportant misbehaviors, such as fidgeting.

• Make punishments and rewards immediate. Avoid waiting more than a few minutes to provide the consequences of a behavior.

• Avoid repeating commands. You should give a command and if not followed, then you can repeat it once with a warning of what the consequences for noncompliance will be. If not followed, then apply the consequences. Do not continue to repeat the command.

• Don't argue with your child about the punishment. Ignore any protests. You can talk about it later.

• Plan ahead. If you always have difficulty in certain situations, such as shopping or having visitors, go over a plan of action beforehand, which includes what your expectations are and what the consequences of misbehavior will be.

• Be flexible, especially with older children and adolescents. Listen and get your child's input on some rules and punishment.

• Use ‘I' messages, instead of ‘you' messages. For example, say ‘I am upset that you didn't clean up your room,' instead of ‘You made me upset for not cleaning up.' ‘You' statements can seem more accusatory and can lead to arguing.

• After disciplining your child, explain why they were in trouble, the rule and what your expectations are when he misbehaves and explain what the proper behavior would have been.

  • Reinforce good behavior by offering praise when he does well and learn to pay positive attention to your child. Children seek approval for the things that they do, especially from their parents.
  • Let your child know if he is following the rules or has done something right, or made an effort to do something that you wanted. “Great job”, “Thank you for doing (fill in the blank)”, “Thank you for listening”, “I knew you could do it”, Be sure to comment on specific behaviors or actions.
  • Give him a hug, kiss or smile if he has been sitting quietly, completes a chore without problems, or is playing cooperatively. Also give verbal signs of approval, such as ‘Great Job,' or ‘I like it when you…' Be sure to comment on specific behaviors or actions.
  • Give him choices. This allows your child some feeling of independence. For example, offer a choice between setting the table or taking out the trash.
  • Make good behavior fun. Your child is more likely to comply if he is enjoying himself. For example, say ‘let's see who can pick up the most toys.
  • Establish a reward system to promote good behavior. EX: Have a 7 slot chart for Monday-Sunday. When they have a good day put a sticker on that day. At the end of the week, if they reach 6 stickers, they can pick a price from a treasure chest. (small simple prices-economical)

The first step to better discipline is to learn to encourage good behavior in your child. It is much easier to reinforce good behavior than to have to try and change bad behaviors. Here are some tips for encouraging better behavior:

encouraging good behavior

Whatever the reason is, keep in mind that there is always a reason for misbehavior. You should understand that how you behave when disciplining your child will help to determine how your child is going to behave or misbehave in the future.

Giving In: If you give in after your child repeatedly argues, becomes violent or has a temper tantrum, then he/she will learn to repeat this behavior because he knows you may eventually give in (even if it is only once in a while that you do give in).

Being Firm: If you are firm and consistnt then he/she will learn that it doesn't pay to fight. He/she are eventually going to have to do what they didn’t want to do anyway.

What we are trying to accomplish is:

>>Behave and Listen = Positive Attention on your part (reward good behavior)

>>Misbehaves and Doesn’t Listen = Apply “Discipline Techniques” plus they will have to do what they didn’t want to do in the first place.

Some reasons why children misbehave include having a difficult temperament such as:

  • Being impulsive
  • Overactive
  • Overly sensitive
  • Emotional
  • Having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
  • Recent changes in the home environment
  • Children often misbehave as a way to get attention
  • Children are spoiled.


reasons why children misbehave

Parents often seek help with their child with behavior problems, which can range from minor discipline problems to true defiant behavior.

If you are having difficulty disciplining your child, it is important to remember that you may not be doing anything wrong. All children are different and have different temperaments and developmental levels and a style of discipline that may work with other children may not work with yours. You may not be able to change your child, but you can change the way that you discipline your child and improve their behavior. You should intervene to improve problem behaviors as early as possible, because most children will not outgrow them on their own.

behavior guide