Discipline at Different Ages

Discipline at Different Ages

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs out there, and let’s be real, every child is different and they don’t come with directions.

Try to think of discipline more as teaching rather than punishment. The most effective discipline makes sure that children are capable of meeting the expectation, understand the expectation, and can learn from the consequences when they do not follow through.

This is done best by considering the developmental age of the child:


Toddlers especially crave attention, so give your child attention and praise when they follow instructions and show positive behavior and do not give attention for defiant or negative behaviors like tantrums.

Review with your child acceptable ways to show that they are upset. Remember, don’t just catch them being bad, try to catch them being good too.


Communication is key! Talk to your child about friendships, working/talking out disagreements with friends, school likes and dislikes, respecting others, consequences of actions etc.

Make clear rules and boundaries and stick to them, such as how long your child can watch TV, play a video game or what their bedtime is. Be clear about what behavior is acceptable and not acceptable.


Teens want to be heard, take the time and listen. Be honest and respect their opinions. This doesn’t mean you agree with everything they say, but let them voice their opinions and discuss it.

When there is a conflict, be clear about goals and expectations (clean room, showing respect and getting acceptable grades), but allow your teen input on how to reach those goals.

Effective parenting fully recognizes that toddlers, children, and even teens are NOT mini-adults; their bodies and their brains have different abilities and reactions. It also capitalizes on the fact that children are much more likely to model the behaviors and actions they see than what they are told, which can be one of the most difficult aspects of parenting.
It takes courage to be a parent and be open to help. A calm parent can help model calmness to a child so reach out for help if you need it (friends, family or our hotline).

One of the most important things we can do is to remember to take care of ourselves. It’s natural to want to take care of your child first but as the old saying goes, we must first secure our own oxygen mask and mental wellness before being able to help others.

“Tell me and I forget;
Teach me and I remember;
Involve me and I learn.”

Benjamin Franklin

Text Hotline
Call Hotline
Live Chat Hotline