The Best Way to Discipline? Treat Your Child Like a Human Being












Researchers at Oklahoma State University have concluded that parenting doesn’t require a village, at least when it comes to discipline. A study of 102 mothers of children ranging in age from 18-30 months revealed that varying discipline techniques all worked successfully based on the individual parent-child dynamic:

Ericka Souter, a parenting expert and editor at, heralded the study as proof that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to raising children.

“The first thing to remember from this study is there is no ‘one size fits all’ way to discipline your kid. Every kid is different. It’s about knowing your kid,” she said in comments to Good Morning America on Friday. “The second great thing is that we’re hearing that timeouts can be a good thing and we should utilize them when it’s appropriate.”

Apparently researchers did not address spanking or yelling at the child as modes of discipline. The conclusion they reached, however, is one that is overlooked far too often in the parenting community: “toddlers need both reasoning and punishments.” In other words, when you treat your child like a human being and not an animal, they are more likely to follow the rules.

Like any other kid, I received my fair share of discipline growing up. I was only ever spanked twice, but I was spoken to, quite often, and always in a mature fashion. My mother never hesitated to explain cause and effect to me in language that I could easily understand. Each time I was spanked there was an explanation before and a talk afterward to make sure I understood why it happened, that my parents didn’t enjoy spanking me, and therefore we didn’t want to return to this scenario again. I was the kid who needed to know why I could or could not do certain things. My mother recognized this character trait and worked with it to our mutual advantage — no parenting manual required.

The bottom line: Get to know your kids. What’s more, speak to who they are, not who you want or need them to be that very moment.