CSP Spotlight: Guidelines for Parental Discipline

All children need discipline. Here are some helpful guidelines for you, as a parent.

  • Never disagree about discipline in front of children.
  • Never give an order, request or command without being able to enforce it at the time.
  • Be consistent; that is, reward or punish the same behavior in the same manner as much as possible.
  • Agree on what behavior is desirable and not desirable.
  • Agree on how to respond to undesirable behavior.
  • Make it as clear as possible what the child is to expect if he or she performs the undesirable behavior.
  • Make it very clear what the undesirable behavior is. It is not enough to say, “Your room is messy.” Messy should be specified in terms of exactly what is meant, for example, “You’ve left dirty clothes on the floor, dirty plates on your desk, and your bed is not made.”
  • Once you have stated your position and the child attacks that position, do not keep defending yourself. Simply restate your position once more and stop responding to the attacks.
  • Remember that your behavior serves as a model for your children’s behavior.
  • If one parent is disciplining a child and the other enters the room, the parent entering the room should not become involved in the disciplinary action.
  • Reward desirable behavior as much as possible using verbal praise, touch or something tangible such as a toy, food or money.
  • Both parents should have an equal share in the responsibility of discipline as much as possible.


Community Service Programs of West Alabama (CSP), Inc.’s Head Start/Early Head Start, Child Care Partnership, and Early Intervention programs engage families and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Safe and healthy children are ready to learn and explore their world.

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