Tag Archives | discipline


The consistency myth

Everyone knows that parents need to be consistent.  But what exactly does being consistent mean?  The trouble is the word ‘consistent’ conjures up images of parents rigidly acting in the exact same way, following exactly the same detailed rules, inflexibly sticking to the same script day after day.  It suggests that one deviation, on one […]

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As a behaviour change tool, punishment has its limitations.  Before I tell you why I need to bore you with some technical definitions.  The word punishment usually means a penalty or a negative experience imposed on someone when they are guilty of wrong doing.  Within behavioural science, punishment is a technical term meaning any event […]

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Parents may use behavioural parenting strategies such as logical consequences or praise, but use them from a standpoint of dispensing justice. They may even take a punitive approach, believing that if a child has done the wrong thing then they deserve to be punished, to suffer for their wrong doing.  Or they may simply believe […]

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Weathering the storm

Has this ever happened to you?  You realise that you need to take a new approach as a parent.  Perhaps you realise that you’ve been accidentally rewarding a particular behaviour with your attention or just that the come has come to be firm about something.  You think through your new approach and you are confident […]

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Reinforcement, the strengthening of behaviour through the consequences of that behaviour (reinforcers or reinforcing stimuli), is a key psychological concept, one that has been applied widely in homes, schools and workplaces.  Reinforcement has entered into our popular culture.  It is common to hear non-psychologists talk about the importance of reinforcing particular behaviours and the strategies […]

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All parents know that as children develop, they go through stages were they particularly ‘test the boundaries’.  During these stages, children often focus on testing out particular family expectations.  Suddenly a daily task that caused no distress or grief whatsoever becomes the centre of vocal and angry objections.  These ‘boundary testing’ times can be very […]

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Young father with little son outdoors at ocaen

There are no easy answers to many of the dilemmas that parents face and even if there were, they wouldn’t necessarily be right for your child.  However, this doesn’t mean that you are lost and adrift with nothing to guide you either.  Although there are no easy answers, there is flexible adaptation, a process of […]

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The relationship between parent and child is unique for many reasons and one of those reasons is that the relationship fundamentally involves a power imbalance.  The power dynamic between parent and child is, of course, natural and necessary.  Yet, it is still incredible to ponder the sheer degree of power that parents have over their […]

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Many of the biggest dilemmas parents face are about discipline;  how to gradually and effectively shape our children’s behaviour both to make everyone’s life easier in the short-term and to ensure, in the long-term, that as an adult they are equipped with the kinds of skills and behaviours that will bring them success, health and […]

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Showering love on your child, in other words, giving your child plenty of attention and affection and responding to their (developmentally appropriate) requests for more attention and affection has many benefits.  It will help to develop your child’s confidence, to strengthen your relationship with your child (a boon for other aspects of parenting), and increase […]

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