Intro Vanessa Stankiewicz | Text Ana Roa | Images PinterestTHE BIG QUESTION: HOW DO I DISCIPLINE MY CHILD?

I asked Ana to give us some tips and some sort of structure as to how we could discipline our kids. I´m currently facing the terrible 2´s and I´m trying my best to comprehend my child but also be understood. It´s not been easy, and im constantly looking for ways to deal with every challenging situation (tantrums, constant “no´s”, hitting and biting, etc). I hope the following will help all of us!

Ana Explains:

Today, parents and current teachers “doubt”; they don’t want to treat children how they were treated and aren´t sure how to change this. Modern society seems to be racing, family life is reduced to weekends, work schedules are long, obligations continually increase… in short, the quality of life decreases.

The norms and rules must appear naturally from the family setting, it organizes the parents and the children, and harmonizes the coexistence, growth, and enhances family education, and does so outside the family as well.

Boundaries, sometimes, are necessary, but we could soften the terminology classifying them better as CONCEPTS OF ORGANIZATION AND HARMONY, for the coexistence of the family (we call “setting limits” to the respective activity of organizing and interacting with family members). Within the limits we will consider the interests of parents towards their children and children towards their parents.

We are currently facing a culture of particular protection, sometimes too high, and even worshipping the child. We fear that for any reason we may traumatize the child, and give gratification at inappropriate times. Frequently we see the need for educational references, objective criteria to guide inter-family-relations… there is a longing for exemplary rules and norms of coexistence related to the education of the child.


DISCIPLINE & OBEDIENCE-  Consent is one of the most common features of parents and even teachers. In order to avoid problems or upset the child, we yield, after which it becomes increasingly difficult to remain firm, eventually we disregard the original issue.


  • Hold back from exercising authority (observe children, rarely correct them).
  • Put limits to childrens’ habits, studies and leisure. Example, giving them only an hour a day on the computer, outdoor playtime form 4-6pm, etc
  • Support them in major battles, and help them blow off minor ones.
  • Give importance to the important.
  • Spark their interest for new things.
  • Encourage the child to develop self confidence to complete tasks.
  • Do not tolerate a child’s messy attitude toward his things, since by arranging his books; toys and belongings in general will lead to inner order and appreciation of things.
  • Our demands will not be the product of a whine or impulse.
  • Orders and instructions must be clear, concise and non-repetitive, avoiding excessively raising your voice. Shouting and repeating the same thing many times over will not promote authority, but the contrary.

All these tips should aim at a natural, logical & gradual improvement of our authority model.


Disobedience serves to clarify our capacity as educators by learning to decipher the character of the child: his first declaration of self. Disobedience measures the parameters of the child’s personality, while in development, and the demands for personal space. It is an indication of the education we should impart for balancing trends and adaptations of the environment. The general or overall disobedience as it extends to the family circle, and that of school and other circles, shows character disorders; while partial disobedience manifests a personality that is in defence. The disobedient child does not accept prohibitions without reason, makes as if he did not understand; shows he is against the command to make clear he is in command. The disobedient child does not do what he dislikes, he reacts by means of compensation which desires protection or assertion. Therefore, at times the child does not want to “say sorry” for his actions, he knows he has done wrong but does not want further humiliation. If we ask for an explanation we’ll realize he is the first to not approve.

We can act by:

  • Avoiding multiple and simultaneous orders and commands: “Don’t move!”, “Quiet, now!”, “Go to sleep!”
  • Knowing specifically the limits we want them to respect.
  • Explaining why things are prohibited, with clarity, formality and resolution. Theatrics and contradictions will not do.
  • Asking with an adequate tone. This way we avoid all conflicts of authority and effective disagreements between father, mother, etc…
  • Avoiding their loss of respect and obeying you only out of fear.


There are two strategies that should go together.

Withdraw your attention from his conduct and reinforce the first positive act the child makes once he’s abandoned the negative conduct.

  • Stop responding, stop looking at him, and stop addressing him until he abandons the negative conduct.
  • Leave the room where the child is and ignore him until he abandons the negative conduct.
  • Take the child away from the scene or send him to an isolated place (“time out” or “alone time”), and then once he’s abandoned the negative conduct go and see him.


Ignore the conduct

  • Avoid eye-contact with the child and any non-verbal signalling.
  • Don’t maintain any verbal dialogue. Say nothing.
  • Don’t maintain any physical contact.
  • Begin ignoring the child as soon as the conduct begins and stop ignoring once the conduct stops.
  • Keep in mind that initially the negative conduct will increase in frequency and become worse.
  • Have patience because it is a gradual process.
  • Withdraw attention on a consistent basis until the conduct disappears.
  • We must note that this method does not apply to children whose conduct can cause themselves harm (for example those who inflict injury on themselves).

Reinforce positive and desired conduct

  • Reinforce in a systematic way all positive conducts and opposite to those we want to eliminate.
  • It is necessary to select appropriate stimuli for reinforcing good conduct.
  • You should fully ignore any overflow of misconduct.

Children now live in a time of great consumerism, busy schedules and with scarce dedication and little patience from parents. However, we can enjoy certain moments, and recuperate the value of simple things, the smiles, the dialogue and quality time spent dedicated to our children. Perhaps not succumbing to certain social pressures will help us appreciate life more, and our children would listen, at least once a day, to our guidance, discovering the importance of coherence and tranquility.

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