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Discipline That Sticks

Every day, we correct our kids to get them to behave. But we can't monitor them forever. What our children should also get from us are the tools they'll need to remember how to act when we're not around.

And that's what self-discipline is: the ability to get yourself under control rather than depend on someone else's approval (or disapproval) to guide you. To help your child reach that point, you need to strike the right balance. If you're overly strict, she might be obedient, but she won't learn how to master her own impulses and will probably end up rebelling. If you're too lenient, she won't learn to take responsibility for her choices.

So how can you teach your child self-discipline? These seven steps are simple to put into practice.


Contributing editor Marianne Neifert, M.D., is a pediatrician and mom of five. Her most recent book is Dr. Mom's Prescription for Preschoolers.