Good vs Bad discipline for unwanted child behaviour

Good vs Bad discipline for unwanted child behaviour

Evidence suggests that there are good and bad examples of how to discipline unwanted child behaviour.


Examples of types of discipline that are not effective include screaming, constantly explaining, repeatedly warning, threatening, pleading, arguing, bribing, giving in and smacking.

Smacking for example may undermine a parent's respect for the child and may therefore erode their ability to teach, while positively reinforcing to the child that violence is an acceptable solution to the problem. Smacking may also prohibit the child from learning from the experience as the message that is intended to be given can often be lost in the resulting emotional mess.


Evidence suggests it is more effective and safe to withhold attention from unwanted behaviour (e.g. ignore a child that is behaving poorly). For more extreme unwanted behaviours in children older than 3 years the following tips might be useful:

  • Natural consequences e.g. if a child refuses to eat, let them go hungry
  • Related consequences e.g. if a child fights over a toy, remove the toy
  • Removing privileges e.g. refuse access to a wanted toy for an unrelated behaviour (this type of discipline should be used with caution, and it is important to explain to children why this is being done and what they can do to have this undone)

For more helpful tips of healthy ways to discipline children check out the following website: