Age-appropriate discipline

Published 10:10 am Tuesday, August 20, 2019

By Lora Davidson

Harlan Co. Extension Agent

Discipline is a way for parents to teach their children appropriate behaviors. For a parent’s discipline to really make a difference, it has to be done in a way that the child understands and can then act upon.

Children all grow and develop at different rates. Understanding developmental stages and where your child fits into those stages will help you be a more effective disciplinarian. For example, if a parent of a 2-year-old asks the child to hand them a blue cup but the child does not know his or her colors yet, that can be a difficult task for them to complete.

Understanding development stages also allows you to have realistic expectations for your child’s behavior. A 10-year-old is going to have a much better understanding of appropriate behaviors than a 3-year-old, so you will discipline them in different ways. For example, if you tell both children to pick up their toys, you will have to actually show the 3-year-old where they go and explain to them why they should pick up their toys. This may take several times before the child picks up their toys at your command. A 10-year-old who doesn’t pick up their toys, should have consequences to face such as screen time limits or reduced playtime.

If your child is developmentally delayed, remember to have patience with your discipline methods as they may not be able to fully grasp important discipline concepts.

More parenting tips are available at the Harlan County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

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