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    Parents, Kids, and Discipline

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    Tips for Maintaining Discipline continued...

    Look for the "why" behind behaviors. If you notice a pattern of inappropriate behavior, part of the solution is to look for "whys." For example, perhaps your child is upset about something else, such as a friend moving away. Maybe your child had a bad day at school. Perhaps your child feels stressed about family problems. Maybe he is tired or hungry.

    These explanations don't excuse the behavior, but trying to understand why it happens can help you and your child find ways to prevent it from happening again and again.

    Know When and Where to Go for Help

    Give yourself a break. Even if you have the best discipline techniques and parenting style, there are some days when nothing seems to work. Or perhaps you've had a bad day, too. Developing skills for positive discipline takes a lot of practice and a lot of time. If you feel you have made a mistake, be honest. Apologize to your child and explain how you plan to change your response the next time.

    There may be times when you don't know what to do to next. Or you may not know how to change from what you're doing now to something that will be more effective.

    Any time you have questions about your child's behavior and discipline, check in with your child's doctor. It may be time to seek help from a mental health professional when you see:

    • Ongoing disrespect for all authorities: parents, teachers, and other adults
    • Aggressive or destructive behavior
    • Signs of depression, such as feeling blue for a long time, having no friends, or threatening suicide
    • Your child or other members of the family use drugs or alcohol to deal with stress or other problems in their lives
    • Several relationships within the family are difficult

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on December 13, 2015
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