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If I Had Parenting to Do Over Again

Mary Gosche, Human Development Specialist, Cape Girardeau County and Southeast Region, University of Missouri Extension


How would I parent my children, if I could have a fresh start? Diane Loomans' famous poem brings lots of ideas to mind, "more hikes and kites, more hugging and less tugging, and model the power of love".

Most parents that take parenting classes need to learn how to hit less and discipline more. Spanking is very controversial but many parents feel like I do that if you had a fresh start at parenting, less spanking would be in order. Spanking is punishment and disciplining is teaching the child what you really what them to do and how they should behave.

Below is a list of disciplining strategies that need to be repeated, if they have a chance to work:


  • Change the child's direction: Help children to go to another activity or toy. This allows children to get away from what they should not be play with. Ages 1-21/2 years
  • Avoid Tempting Things: Moving some things in your home so your child cannot reach them. This helps to keep your child safe and prevents breaking things. 1-2 1/2 years
  • Remove Child from Activity: When a child cannot follow rules of the game, is fighting or becoming mean to other children. 1-5 years
  • Encouragement: For all ages! Encouragement is better than praise because it should describe what the child is doing right.
  • Time Out: This is used when children have lost self-control. The rule of thumb is one minute of time out for each age of the child. 2-12 years
  • Natural and Logical Consequences: Many times, real learning experiences are gained by natural or logical consequences. For example, a child who refuses to eat supper during mealtime will end up waiting to snack time to breakfast to eat again. Or if toys are not put away, a logical consequence may be to collect the toys for charity or at least put them away for awhile. 2-18 years
  • A.C.T.: Acknowledge Feelings, Communicate Limits, and Target Two Choices. For example, I can see that you are angry about something, but the rule is that we do not hurt animals or people. Would you like to kick a ball or play with the puppy?
  • Give and Take: Parents and children need to really listen to each other. Listening helps to give in a little and helps to understand. 5-18 years
  • Handshake on it: A child and parent make an agreement or contract. Write down what you can agree on and then seal it with signing the notes and a handshake. 12-18 years


The above positive discipline strategies are developmentally appropriate for our children. Effective child discipline yields a long-term investment, a self-controlled teenager or adult.


Last Updated 05/05/2009









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