Parents Flunking Discipline
1 in 3 Parents Say the Way They Discipline Their Children Doesn't Work
WebMD News Archive
Jan. 10, 2007 -- Parents may be in need of a time-out -- if not a do-over --
when it comes to discipline.
A new survey shows more than a third of parents use the same discipline
methods with their children their own parents used on them -- despite the fact
that nearly a third say their disciplining strategies aren't working.
Researchers found 38% of parents say they use the same discipline their
parents used, such as removing privileges, yelling, sending the child to the
bedroom, and spanking.
However, 31% said they thought their discipline methods were either
"never" or only "sometimes" effective.
Having experienced yelling or spanking as a child made the parents more
likely to use the same approach with their own children, regardless of whether
they thought it actually worked.
In fact, parents who reported yelling at their children were the most apt to
say their discipline was ineffective.
"There was actually an inverse relationship between self-reports of
yelling at children and perceived effectiveness of discipline," says
researcher Shari Barkin, MD, chief of pediatrics at the Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, in Nashville, Tenn., in a news release.
In the study, researchers surveyed more than 2,000 parents nationwide of
children aged 2 to 11 who were waiting for a well-child visit with their
The results showed parents used a variety of discipline techniques with
their children. For example:
- 45% reported using time-outs
- 42% said they used removal of privileges
- 13% reported yelling at their children
- 9% said they used spanking "often or always"
"But we strongly suspect that both yelling and spanking might be
underreported, because we know when parents perceive their methods are not
working, as a third reported, then emotions can quickly escalate," Barkin
Researchers found the age of the child influenced the type of discipline
By the time children reached the 6- to 11-year-old age range, parents were
25% less likely to report using time-outs and spanking as they were with
Once the children reached school age, parents were more likely to use taking
away privileges and yelling, despite the perception that this discipline method
may not be effective.