My One Tip to Discipline Kids

When I decided to challenge myself to #28daysofblogging this month, I was slightly concerned that I wouldn’t have enough content. Would things dry up? Would I lose the passion? Would I come to dread writing? Turns out though there are about 400 topics I want to connect with you all on from a recipe for a super healthy vegan snack to kick arse stain remover solutions. Some posts are going to be ‘pithier’ than others so when Jack decided to open the front door this morning and run out with Sonny in tow, I knew immediately the focus for today’s post.

So here’s the thing. I have high expectations of my kids when it comes to their behavior and so when they ‘misbehave’, I like to know firstly why it happened and secondly, make sure it doesn’t happen again. Which is why when he does something wrong (and to clarify, Jack knows it is wrong to run out the front door, I firmly believe that), I don’t shout (I’ve tried that; with Jack, it achieved nothing and made me feel rubbish), I don’t ban things, I don’t stop him going to his friend’s house. In fact, in the actual moment itself I do very little; I’ll remedy the situation – rescue run away kids (!), pick up spilled food, fix broken lamp – but I don’t do or say much there and then, especially if we are out and about or trying to get out the house (when you’ve got five minutes before you miss the train for work and your half naked son is refusing to get dressed and running around the house growling, that’s not the time.) I tend to remain quiet and will almost disconnect from Jack – he’ll sense something is up – then it’s later in the day, once we’ve both almost had time to process things, that’s I get to work.

The main method I use is, simply, to TALK. I think that the power of communication as a tool for disciplining is totally overlooked – or maybe it’s the ability of children to understand that is underestimated. You see, I’ve always loved chatting to Jack. It started with our trips together to the supermarket, armed with the first words he’d recently learnt. “Bread”, “milk”, “nana” – we’d have entire conversations based around these few words. Then it would be after nursery; I’d ask him all about his day and who he’d been playing with (even though he could never reply), and now recently, it’s turned to talking about his beahviour and feelings. We always tell adults to talk things through if theres a problem, we encourage people to speak out if there’s a problem so why don’t we do the same with small people?

So we talk. We talk when things are calm and quiet, later in the day, during dinner or bathtime. Days later when we’re walking along holding hands, we talk. We talk about why it’s wrong what he did, and he questions it, and we go on and on and on. For me, it’s the best tool I’ve found to get through to Jack, and to discipline him when his behavior falls short of what I’d hope for from him. And so far, it seems to work. It really is good to talk (or so the BT ad goes.)

One guess what we’ll be talking about tonight during bathtime?

Do you and your child talk? Do you mull things over? Which methods do you use to discipline your kids? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Emma xxx

P.S Our favourite book for talking about emotions and the one thing about motherhood that baffles me


  1. February 22, 2019 / 11:47 am

    No body seems to talk to kids like they’re people and functioning members of society anymore. Both of my parents were teachers and my mum was trained in child psychology so I can very rarely remember being really yelled at. However, mum still has apologie notes that we left around the house for her to find… you just knew you’d disappointed her. I always hear peers talk about being smacked and the like but they also seem to have been worse behaved than my sisters and I. Of course I’m generalising a bit but from what my parents tell us, we rarely misbehaved, especially in public. We were always encouraged to asked questions so if we were told that something was naughty and we questioned it because we didn’t understand, it wasn’t really seen as ‘talking back’ but we had a conversation until the message sunk in and we simply learned why we shouldn’t do it again. Also play was so important because it meant we’d expelled all of our energy and inquisitiveness instead of running around screaming and throwing things. I think this way of parenting is so good for building genuine mutual respect and also teaches children how to converse in life with others.

  2. February 5, 2018 / 10:15 pm

    Hi Emma, just going through your website ready for Wednesday night and this blog post really resonated with me. My eldest, Evie is 5 and at school and for want of a better word. Challenging. In a good way and she knows her own mind, I’m raising a strong female so in many ways, I love the way she is. What I can’t abide at the moment is that she doesn’t listen to a single word I say. She zones out and does what I’ve asked her not to do anyway. Sometimes this is just wilful and there’s no danger in her doing what I’ve asked her not to do but then there are times when it is dangerous. She has no fear factor. Get ready for school in the mornings has become so stressful. I shouted at her so much this morning that I nearly phoned up the school at midday to ask if I could talk to her. I’ve felt so so awful all day. We always talk things out but she just doesn’t seem to listen. This then in turn winds me up. I need to just relax I think and take your stance. I think my silence would make her at least wonder what was up.

    • emmaross
      February 6, 2018 / 8:56 am

      hey love, thanks for reading and for commenting. it can be so tough but i just find, honestly, if jack is able to wind me up, it literally helps nothing and no one. evie sounds like a strong willed, amazing little girl. when jack doesnt listen to what i say i just quietly say “ok, well you’ll miss XXX if we’re going to be late” and he seems to pick up on it and change, and if he doesn’t well he misses XX and will hopefully learn in the process. i dont have enough energy to do otherwise! definitely not easy though <3 x

      • Rachel
        February 22, 2019 / 3:57 pm

        Hi, I just wanted to say that my 5 year old son is exactly the same! He loves his down time and likes to take it slowly in the mornings, definitely not a recipe for getting to school on time. He’s in Year 1 and although he seems to like school he just doesn’t want to go everyday. He is quite particular about so many things (this comes across as a bit OCD and makes him dramatic) for example, if he gets a drop of water on his jumper from brushing teeth then he’ll often have a meltdown and want to change his jumper. I’m torn between letting it go for the sake of my sanity and telling him he’s being slightly neurotic. This has all got far worse since starting school, which leads me to believe he’s just trying to assert some control in his life as he clearly feels out of control at school. Apparently he’s all smiles at school, so obviously leaves the grumpiness for when he’s at home! It’s such hard work, especially with a 3 year old in tow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *