How to discipline misbehaving children

syeda asks: My child is a very naughty boy. He beats every one, and he does not listen to any one. What can I do?

Hi syeda –


It’s hard for me to answer your question without knowing how old your son is, but I can give a general answer to you:


Your kid is misbehaving, and you’re not sure how to control it.  And it sounds like he’s really unhappy.   Here are my broad rules for this:


1)   You need to set consequences for actions.  They need to be clear and immediate.  If he hits someone, a certain consequence happens.  If he doesn’t listen, another does.  Every time.

2)   Your goal is to teach him, not to punish him.  Sure, the consequences must be things he doesn’t particularly like, but they don’t have to be drastic.  As long as you clearly take power over the situation, that will be enough of a consequence.  When I was young and really misbehaved, Handsome would just grab me and lay me down on the ground on my back, and hold me down for a second while yelling “No.”  He never had to hit me – he was showing that he was the “Alpha Dog” clearly enough to stop my actions.  You don’t even have to go that far.  Just take a privilege away, or make him sit in a corner for a few minutes, and that’s enough.

3)   Your son isn’t wrong for wanting to disobey or hit; it’s just the doing of it that’s the problem.  Try to teach him other ways to get what he wants from those actions.  Does he want attention from you?  Arrange a good way he can get it.  Is he frustrated with other kids?  Find a good way for him to deal with that frustration.

4)   A favorite line of mine:  Pick Your No’s (say it out loud!).  It’ll only confuse your child to have too many rules.  Pick just a few, and enforce them strongly.  Later, once he’s stopped hitting others and disobeying you, then you can worry about table manners and such!

5)   And remember to compliment his good behavior way more often than you criticize his bad.  Tell him how great he’s doing.  If he goes through an hour of not hitting anyone, tell him that’s great.  If he gets through a day of it, give him a reward.  Remember, your goal isn’t just that he stops doing bad things, it’s that he happily is good!
Okay, syeda, that’s just a tiny guide to discipline, but it ought to help.  If you’d like more, let me know more detail about him, his age, and what he’s doing wrong.


Good Luck!




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