Parenting

Love or fear: How Do You Discipline Your Child?

Shikha Batra
3 to 7 years

Created by Shikha Batra
Updated on Jul 05, 2019

Love or fear How Do You Discipline Your Child
Reviewed by Expert panel

“You need to wind up right now and do your homework or else...” warned the mother of six-year-old, Riya (name changed)—a warning, which Riya chose to ignore with her eyes still hooked on to the iPad. This disobedience of hers was followed by another and even louder warning, which ultimately culminated in a spanking. The next one hour passed with her scribbling on her notebook to complete her homework, which eventually lay unfinished at the end of the day. This was an everyday scene at Riya’s house!

When parenting becomes a battle, the home turns into a battleground. Sore throats, soaring blood pressures and only hurt feelings remain and of course there are no winners. If this has become an everyday scenario in our houses, we need to look for alternative method to discipline our children minus the punishment component. Read on to find out more.

Tips For Positive Discipline

Here are 7 simple ways to learn to disassociate the negative component associated with discipline and slowly change our perspective about discipline. Let’s us understand the concept of “positive discipline”:
  1. Understand root cause:

    Once we understand this simple, basic concept we would be seeing our child from a positive lens
  • Try and understand that something in the child’s environment is influencing her to behave badly
  • The triggers could be many - the child could be hungry, tired, sleepy, upset or unwell
  • Address the underlying need to eliminate the misbehavior
  • Reconnect everyday:

    Switch off your mobile phones, and other gadgets to take out those exclusive 20 minutes for your child every day
    • Listen to what she has to say, tell her how much you love her and what she means to you
    • Snuggle her, tickle her, cuddle her, have pillow fights, giggle with her
    • Be 100% physically and mentally present with her, for her
    • Children who feel connected with their parents indulge in less of misbehavior
  • Model behaviors which you want your child to emulate:

    Never act when you are upset
    • Leave the situation, or take a deep breath or count to 10 to calm down
    • We should not do anything in front of our children that we don’t want them to do
  • Give attention to behaviors you like and ignore the ones you don’t like:

    Children sometimes throw tantrums, whine, lie down on the floor, or throw things to catch your attention. Ignore the behavior or simply walk away to pass on the message that there is a better way to communicate than throw a fit
  • Offer an option instead of saying ‘NO’:

    children who hear no every time, tend to inculcate resentment. Substitute your ‘No’ with an option
    • For instance, a child who is misbehaving at the restaurant might be asked to collect the table napkins and help the parent and the sibling in laying these
    • In this case, instead of telling the child “No, don’t do this”, we show the positive behavior to replace the misbehavior
    • Also, as children grow older, it is advisable to give them an explanation of why you said the no. Just saying ‘No’ point-blank makes them resent the authority
  • Show empathy and respect:

    Understand why the child is behaving in a particular way and empathize with her
    • For instance, if she hits a child who refuses to share her doll with her, we could say, “I understand you really want the doll, but hitting her is not the right choice. Hitting hurts and we do not hit our friends”
    • By connecting and then correcting, half the battle is already won
  • Use logical consequences:

    If a child has done a mistake, spanking or shouting would only make him play defensive and hide his mistake or lie to you next time to avoid your scolding
    • For instance-

      if a child has broken a glass, instead of spanking if we tell him to help you with cleaning, the chance of repeat behavior is reduced
    • In this case the focus is put off the mistake and shifted to taking the responsibility for repairing it

    Let’s have a re-look at the same scene (mentioned in the introduction) but with a change in the mother’s way of dealing with the situation. Mother calling Riya and making an eye contact and asking her in a polite yet firm voice, “Riya how much time would you need to wind it up? I am giving you ten minutes for winding up and after which you shall do your homework. Once you are done we can do your favorite activity together. When Riya agrees the mother says, “Riya you have been really good and thank you for lending a patient ear.”

    By treating our children with compassion and understanding, we teach them to be responsible and self-disciplined. On the other hand, when we spank, yell or punish, we are teaching them to act aggressively. We don’t want our children to obey us out of fear but out of respect.

    Dear readers, please give your valuable feedback and share your inputs on what works best for you when it comes to disciplining your child in ‘love vs fear?’

    This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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    | May 13, 2016

    My 6 yr old nephew starts troubling everyone around when hes hungry but never asks for food... Its very imp to understand the reason behind a particular behaviour... Scolding never works for him.. It makes him more rebellious.. And the same things explained with love make a huge difference in the outcome... Very nice article and very thoroughly written.. Most parents would relate!

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    | May 13, 2016

    Awesome shikha... I like this blog a lot... This is indeed needed by every parent... Thanks for sharing it

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    | May 13, 2016

    usefull article

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    | May 13, 2016

    very much usefil tips

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    | May 13, 2016

    Wonderful article Shikha... I am currently feeling harassed by my 6 yr old son's indiscipline n have been yelling a lot at him... ur blog has kind of opened my eyes.. Thanks

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    | May 13, 2016

    excellent work shikha. Proud of u. the blog did give me some insights. will do share the same with other mothers. keep up the good work

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    | May 13, 2016

    wonderful tips.. u HV given .....

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    | May 13, 2016

    thank you Shikha. It 'll be very helpful.

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    | May 13, 2016

    very well written blog ,shikha. Love is no doubt the best way to get your point noted in such cases. Its just about striking the right balance between your demand and your child's request so as to reach a mutual conclusion without any use of scolding /punishment / abuse .

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    | May 13, 2016

    very nice article..

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    | May 13, 2016

    Thanks alot for yr valuable article

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    | May 13, 2016

    Hey Shikha, very well written. This is the exactly same situation that happens in my house also. I will try my best to use these tips. Thanks

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    | May 13, 2016

    Hey Shikha, very well written. This is the exactly same situation that happens in my house also. I will try my best to use these tips. Thanks

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    | May 13, 2016

    Thank u all for your feedback! I am glad u all liked it! Your feedback is valuable to us.

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    | May 14, 2016

    Hi, I am also facing same situations, thank you for the tips. I will follow n apply .

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    | May 14, 2016

    Thanks Shikha for such a simple yet important piece of advice. Love is the best medicine . Change in attitude and behaviour will be a constant activity in the kids as they grow and we need to take it with positivity and relate it with our time at that age. Criticizing will only make the kids stubborn and they will develop a negative approach towards life. This is their formidable age and they will become the way we make them now. We as parents need to act rather then to react.

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    | May 14, 2016

    Thanks for advice it will be very helpful for me,because same situations I m also facing.

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    | May 14, 2016

    thank u I'll follow your tips

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    | May 14, 2016

    good work shikha, keep it up.

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    | May 14, 2016

    Very nice & positive suggestions

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    | May 14, 2016

    This was a much needed advice... very practical to help our relationship with our kids.. thank u . plz keep posting more articles like this... it truly helped me as the house was like a battleground

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    | May 14, 2016

    nice write-up..

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    | May 14, 2016

    Very nice article!n grt ideas... thank u shikha

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    | May 14, 2016

    thank u very much as I was really disturb that how to seriously tackle her

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    | May 15, 2016

    Thanks for very much needed article

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    | May 16, 2016

    Thank u all for your valuable feedback!

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    | May 16, 2016

    Thank u all for your valuable feedback!

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    | May 17, 2016

    Very nice blog. I also did the same when my daughter refuses to eat, as she is a picky eater. Now I am regretting. She became aggressive. Not knowing how to change her attitude.

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    | May 18, 2016

    Very useful & informative blog!!

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    | May 18, 2016

    nice one

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    | May 20, 2016

    superb.. I have tried few of the things which you have mentioned here.. n really works...

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    | May 21, 2016

    Thanks Shonali! Your feedback is highly appreciated! Best Rgds!

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    | May 21, 2016

    Practically works well.

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    | May 23, 2016

    Very nice information.

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    | May 23, 2016

    nyc

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    | May 24, 2016

    Thanks Shikha for your tips. I am facing the same problem. I will follow your tips.

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    | May 24, 2016

    really very good guidance..

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    | May 25, 2016

    very valuable advice...

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    | May 28, 2016

    Hey Shikha, your blogs are always very helpful .Totally agree that love is the only way ,whether it's about inculcating discipline in your child's life . Your blogs makes handling tough situations easily. Looking for more

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    | May 29, 2016

    Thank u all for your valuable feedback! It's is indeed a great motivation to carry on.

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    | Jun 01, 2016

    Very helpful article. ,,,

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    | Jun 01, 2016

    too gud

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    | Jun 03, 2016

    It's really gud... and all the parents should practice it... very nice

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    | Jun 07, 2016

    my child avoids eye contact with most people and also with me. even when i tell stories or talk casual with him. he is just 3yrs and mingles easily still... what can i do to make him learn to indulge and maintiain eye contact pl suggest

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    | Jun 07, 2016

    Hi Liza Banerjee! How r u! Making an eye contact while talking makes some children and even adults conscious. It might make them feel the other person is judging them. It will improve if u will tell him calmly every time that he should make an eye contact. Appreciate him when he does so. Otherwise Also some children need lot of motivation, so praise him liberally . For instance " u were brilliant while speaking those lines" , "Awesome! How do u do it? Iam amazed!" Bring him a Mike and make him speak while looking into the mirror. Also u can make him join some activity like dance or theatre where his inhibitions are lost. Hope this helps!

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    | Jun 07, 2016

    Hi Liza Banerjee! How r u! Making an eye contact while talking makes some children and even adults conscious. It might make them feel the other person is judging them. It will improve if u will tell him calmly every time that he should make an eye contact. Appreciate him when he does so. Otherwise Also some children need lot of motivation, so praise him liberally . For instance " u were brilliant while speaking those lines" , "Awesome! How do u do it? Iam amazed!" Bring him a Mike and make him speak while looking into the mirror. Also u can make him join some activity like dance or theatre where his inhibitions are lost. Hope this helps!

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    | Jun 07, 2016

    Thank you so much for the suggestions. these i hv already tried and in vain. i actually hv bought him a mike. he loves singing. he narrates stories while watching himself in mirror. he dances infrnt of it. he alws gets crayons,milkshakes,scooty ride as a treat. yet the same whn it cms to eye contct. So he keeps on avoiding words or things asked to him if he doesnt likes it. i fear this behaviour in future will lead him to become an adament kid. pl suggest

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    | Jun 07, 2016

    Liza ! What are some of the words or things he doesn't like to say or do ,If u would like to share ???this will help him understand better. It's great u have been trying all these strategies already. You can try role plays at home where in u make him the authority figure like a teacher or a doctor and u can pretend to be the student or a patient. Praise him and let him be the leader to make him feel in command . This will give a boost to his confidence. Call his friends home , organize play dates , guide them to do role plays, let him take the lead. Also , u could take turns while speaking lines or reciting a poem and u could show him how to speak confidently with actions. Praise him when he does his bit. Liza in this case praise and appreciation are directly proportional to motivation. So louder the clap, more the praise and hugs , higher the confidence level and better will be the zeal to do better. Hope this helps!

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    | Jun 16, 2016

    this would be definitely help ful to me

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    | Jun 22, 2016

    Nice blog Shikha... Need ur suggestion- with my 4 &1/2 yr daughter I used to do this but it finally ends up to yelling. I usually start politely but then she takes it granted or start negotiate like no I'll not do full page writing only half page I can do etc then I have to show her anger then only she gets ready for things. Even every time I don't wanna do this. Plz suggest how to deal with this .

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    | Jul 08, 2016

    Hi Huma! I understand what u r talking about. U can start with a hug. Take her in your lap, kiss her forehead. don't make a deal, if u agree to this , I will do that. just let her know how much u love her. Agree to her wishes if they are not too much beyond a point . And if u think its being stretched far too much, u know where to draw a line. Just let her Know why u don't want her to do that again politely , calmly, without getting into arguments. If she still doesn't understand, give her some time to understand. Let her approach u and then praise her for understanding the situation. U need to have lot of patience to deal with her. Don't forget to praise her , and give her warmth with ur magical hugs. Hope this helps!

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    | Jul 09, 2016

    Nicely written... I try this with my 4yrs old daughter often. She is not outspoken. Her teachers complaints about her behaviour, but she is really a chatter box at home. Pls suggest how to get this corrected in her behaviour. .

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    | Jul 15, 2016

    Very nice article. I shall follow these steps.

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    | Jul 18, 2016

    Nice blog Shikha... thank u soo much.... i will try this...

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    | Jul 22, 2016

    Hi Shikha, I totally agree with you . we should teach discipline to kids with love and not with fear but it really requires lot of patience. I keep on telling the things to her first by thinking her point of view and adjusting to correct her mistakes but some times she started taking me as granted still trying to explain her situation. we recently shifted from Andhra pradesh to Maharashtra. Migrating from one place to other contains lot many things my girl is facing language problem as she is small she is trying to communicate in english and can understand english but she is getting trouble with the ppl who speak marati and hindi. She mingles with every one she loves to play with hindi speaking kids but the thing is they formed groe ups and not allowing my daughter to get in to the group . She is crying alot bezzz she like their company but they r rejecting her because of language problem how to handle this situation? please suggest

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    | Jul 23, 2016

    hi Saisri Patnaik!how r u ! I understand your concerns. language should not play a barrier when it comes to kids. kids only know the language of play and fun. the thing which could be a problem is that she is new to the group and probably not a regular . kids usually are comfortable in their own group and with friends whom they have seen for long. So , it might take time for her to mingle but for that she should go everyday and start mingling with a like minded person who could then reintroduce her to the group. u could also invite them on her birthday or organize play dates. also u could invite their moms home, watching this kids will be comfortable too... As far as learning hindi language is concerned u could arrange a teacher for her or if u r comfortable u could also teach her. try and speak with her in Hindi so as to reinforce and give her a practice. just motivate her to try mingling and help her with ways. hope this helps!

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    | Jul 23, 2016

    hi Saisri Patnaik!how r u ! I understand your concerns. language should not play a barrier when it comes to kids. kids only know the language of play and fun. the thing which could be a problem is that she is new to the group and probably not a regular . kids usually are comfortable in their own group and with friends whom they have seen for long. So , it might take time for her to mingle but for that she should go everyday and start mingling with a like minded person who could then reintroduce her to the group. u could also invite them on her birthday or organize play dates. also u could invite their moms home, watching this kids will be comfortable too... As far as learning hindi language is concerned u could arrange a teacher for her or if u r comfortable u could also teach her. try and speak with her in Hindi so as to reinforce and give her a practice. just motivate her to try mingling and help her with ways. hope this helps!

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    | Jul 24, 2016

    Thank you Shikha i will start doing it , this will really help me...

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    | Jul 25, 2016

    Hi,My 4 year old is hyperactive and always jump and has no concentration,even he always do jumping ,hitting .Pls help with some remedy

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    | Jul 28, 2016

    hi Piyali Ganguli! I understand your concerns. I would like to know more about him before we actually use this term 'hyperactive'. As far as hitting others is concerned, please observe your child closely and find out when and why does he hit others. Is it that noone listens to him that frustrates him or he is not able to communicate welll or he is hungry, tired, bored, sleepy , upset that makes him behave so ?? take him in your lap , calm him down, talk softly, ask him what's bothering him, hug him, listen to what he has to say. make sure no one at home/school hits or irritates him.. jumping is a nice exercise that can be done to make him spend his energies so that he calms down. please do not scold him when he does that, as he might not be doing it wilfully. so after every 15/20 minutes u could make him run from one room to other or jump up high or let him go to nearby park where he could play on monkey bars or jungle Jim. this should make him feel better. the more u would stop him, more would be his frustration and thereby hitting others . therefore allow him to spend his excess energies. hope this helps!

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    | Jul 28, 2016

    I agree sometimes we just do what we want but these points are very important in life

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    | Jul 28, 2016

    Thanks shikha for the advice really need it. will definately follow it. Docters said he is hyperactive as he always run around,didnt sit in one place. He loves to play but that play turn out into hitting i have limited his time for watching television.

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    | Jul 29, 2016

    Hi shikha i am trying your earlier advice but recently i am getting complain for my 4 Year old from his Pre School that he dont sit in Place. He fight with other kids. (Though as a parent we never hit him) I dont understand why this small things they make issue How they want a 4 year to behave?In spite of how many times i told them to include activities in their course so kids get distracted .They dont listen and they only complains that in 3-4 hrs we cannot mould your child behaviour. I am fed up of his complains as a result i am also thinking my child is bad as a result iget frustated my kid is also getting frustated. we are planning to change his school but i just need to know in future how to react this type of Complains from School and a as a mother how should i react??

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    | Jul 31, 2016

    Useful information.. Thanks for sharing...

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    | Jul 31, 2016

    My baby is 16 month old and he always hits his head on the wall, on the floor in anger... What would I do???? I worry weather hitting head would hamper his brain??? Please suggest me???

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    | Jul 31, 2016

    Thank you for sharing... very useful article..

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    | Jul 31, 2016

    hi Indira Sharma! any sort of injury to brain could prove to be fatal in later life . please try understand what he wants and calmly deal with this situation by diverting his mind, or making the whole incident humorous and letting him understand why his demands can't be fulfilled later when he is calm. hope this helps !

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    | Aug 01, 2016

    Hi , my son is 2 years 11 months now. When he is angry he literally starts screaming at the top of his voice. At that moment i speak to him in low tone n try to calm him, when that doesnt work i start scolding him n sometimes hit him too ( which i really dont want to do). Even then he doesnt stop. Finally i surrender, n give him the thing he demands(most of the situation). When the same situation arises ,with his dad, he behaves the same way , but then he stops his crankiness after his dad scold n hits him. But the difference is his dad doesnt surrender him. But both of us feel bad for hitting him. Please tell us the way we need to handle when he screams in anger...

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    | Aug 11, 2016

    Very useful information

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    | Aug 15, 2016

    Thanks!!!! Shikha Batra..

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    | Aug 16, 2016

    hi Archana! Sincere apologies for replying late. A 2plus year old child understands how to mould people around him and make them listen to him. He knows initially he might hear a 'No 'to all his demands and with shouting and screaming and even crying they will have to finally listen to me. Archana try differently this time. Don't start with a No to his demand. for instance :he wants to play cricket indoors. just say oh Amazing dear! I would love to play cricket with u. let's find out appropriate bat and ball. then u could play with plastic bag and a clothes ball. or u could even give him options such as going to the park or playing on swings or even playing indoor games like ludo etc. Most of the times kids do all this to seek your attention which is their right, so y make them fight for it. on your own spend some exclusive moments with your child. as far as hitting is concerned it is not going to serve any purpose other than making him further adamant and making u feel guilty. Sort the matter out by reframing your sentence and keeping 'No' out of each statement that u make. this shall make your child and u happy as well. hope this helps!

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    | Aug 24, 2016

    nice. but once anger hits me, I can't control myself

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    | Aug 25, 2016

    Very encouraging article for mothers to change their behaviour.... We do have to control our anger so that we can get the same kind of behaviour from our kids...

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    | Aug 28, 2016

    very helpful thanks

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    | Aug 28, 2016

    owesome.... though we know these things some times we loose patience.... while dealing with their daily affairs.... and a write rewashed my brain... glad to have this

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