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How To Discipline A Child Without Yelling, Spanking, Bribing & Threatening

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Disciplining is the most important yet notorious aspect of parenting. Most people when listening to the word ‘discipline’, their first expression will be “No, No! It’s against positive parenting.

Well, it’s not!

It’s not the discipline which is wrong, it’s the way to discipline

Disciplining is usually known as punishing to teach or train a child to obey rules. 

But the real definition of ‘disciplining’ is:


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What is Disciplining a child?

Discipline is extracted from a Latin word “disciplina” which means education or training.

So it’s no way related to punishment.

Still, for every parent’s satisfaction, I’ll use the word “Positive Discipline”.

What is positive disciplining?

Positive disciplining is the way of educating or teaching a child (or anyone) to obey the rules and differentiate between right and wrong, in the most positive way.

So positive disciplining does not include any of these:

Yes, none of these! But still, we will be able to get our kids to listen to the words we say and follow the instructions, With love.

Effects of threatening, bribing and yelling:

Even after practicing positive parenting for months, even years, it’s still normal to feel overwhelmed when dealing with a child. 

Most of the mothers find themselves bribing or threatening or sometimes yelling to discipline a child. 

  • Because of bribing children may get used to this ‘reward system’, they will follow positive behavior just for the rewards, not because of understanding the facts. Someday, when they will not be getting any reward, you can expect huge sessions of tantrums. 
  • Threatening hurts children’s self-esteem. They may become fearful and may not become a confident person later in their lives. It may take away their learning and exploring abilities. 
  • Yelling is an abusive behavior. It may cause anxiety and aggression in children, especially when they grow up. It hurts children’s self-esteem too.

What to do instead of threatening, bribing and yelling and hitting?

Here are a few ways you can try to get your kids to listen & discipline them without practicing any of the negative methods.

*Always use Age-Appropriate methods to deal with your child if you want to really get your kids to listen.*

1- Role Modeling

The very first thing is “Role modeling”. The way you will behave will impact your child’s personality.

I always mention role modeling as the first thing and that’s for a good reason.

This is by far the most effective practice in positive parenting

If I’m not disciplined by myself, how am I supposed to expect a years old child to learn and follow the instructions?

Related and Important: How to stop a child from yelling and Screaming? The positive tips

2- Explaining the facts

I never tell fantasy stories to my daughter. I don’t tell her that she needs to go to bed at any time because a fairy will come to her after she’ll be asleep.

I believe that children’s minds are capable enough to understand many things, it’s up to the parent how they train their minds.

I tell her that she needs to go to sleep on time because it will help her to stay healthy and she can enjoy playing all day long.

Repeating the same phrase daily helped her to understand and eventually she started to pick up that going to sleep is a good and exciting thing. 

So, instead of the irrelevant talks, we should explain the facts to children and make sure that these explanations are in a good and exciting sense. 

3- Ignore sometimes (on minor things)

Always correcting children makes them irritated and they eventually start ignoring the parents and their advice. 

Ignoring sometimes and letting them be, is the best strategy if you really want your kids to listen to you.

For example, if you see your child making a mess in the room, there’s no harm in letting her do it. 

You can say, “Woah! It’s a mess! But it’s ok; when you are done playing, I’ll help you in cleaning up your room.”

This way you are teaching your kid 3 things without actually correcting them

  • Making a mess is not good
  • She be the first person to clean up, mommy is only going to help
  • How to respond calmly

Stopping her right away will only result in a tantrum.

4- Praise Style

Praising is by far the most effective strategy to help a child to grow as a better human being. 

Praise her for good things. It’s ok, it will not spoil her. 

Choose the right way to praise her like

Don’t say ‘You are a very good girl” 

Say that “You are always trying to be my good girl and I love that.”

I hope you’ve got my point.

5- Make them feel more loved

Making a child feel more and more loved is something that can help you to gain her trust and obedience.

The feeling of being loved will force them to listen to you and follow your instructions, unconditionally.

What would you do if someone, who really really loves you and makes you realize his/her love, asks you to do something?

6- Teach her about how to deal with strong emotions

Everyone gets strong emotions, yes! Adults also do but we cry or throw tantrums less often than children do.

It’s because of the simple fact that we know how to deal with emotions. How to stop crying and how to engage ourselves after something bad happens. (most of the time)

Children do not know this, they don’t have any control over their emotions.

But you can train them with some tools like drinking water, changing position, or deep breathing when they feel like bursting.

It was last night when my daughter was crying over something (she wanted to turn off the AC but I did and that created a scene). After a few minutes of crying and sobbing episodes, she said, “Mommy! I can’t stop crying, please give me some water.”

I gave her water and asked her to take some deep breaths and she was all ok within minutes.

I was amazed how a soon-to-be 3-years-old can pick up these tools to help her calm down.

7- Save Your “No’s”

Save your No’s for emergency situations.

Can I take candy? No!

Can I play with the mud? No!

I don’t wanna go to bed right now, can I play? No!

Always no! Kids will feel like mama is a “No machine” and they’ll start ignoring your no’s.

Let them do what they want if it doesn’t hurt. Too much discipline is not good.

Try this instead!

Can I eat candy? I can give you an apple, as we don’t have any candy right now.

Can I play with the mud? What about the blocks you bought last week! As mud is not something to play with.

I don’t wanna go to bed right now, can I play? Yes, just for 5 minutes. Then you’ll have to sleep.

I know she may not listen to you, but will she listen to that “no”?

She won’t.

At least you are saving you no’s for emergencies.

At least you are not encouraging the child to throw a tantrum.

You can try distraction, choices, or anything else instead of no.


These were some general tips to discipline your child but what to do when she is not listening to you?


How to get your child to listen to you without yelling, hitting, threatening and bribing?

Here are some ways to get her to listen to you when she is being a stubborn child while you are trying to “discipline”.

8- Behind the scene – Reason

When you find your child not listening to you, instead of yelling at her you must know the reason behind the behavior. 

She wants to play, that’s why she is not ready to go to bed when it’s time.

Understanding the reason will help you to stay calm and deal with the situation accordingly.

9- Giving an advance notice

It works!

Telling a child what would be her next action plan; really helps to make her more disciplined.

“After you are finished playing, we’ll go to bed.”

Or maybe, “After I’m done with the dishes, we’ll be going to bed.”

This really works for most of the kids.

They know what they are supposed to do next, they are less likely to throw tantrums. 

10- Countdown

I could have used the word “time out” but it’s different. 

Time-out is usually when you leave your kid alone for a few minutes to rethink their behavior. 

But I use the countdown technique. 

Ask your child, “After 5 minutes, I’ll come to you and take you to bed.”

“You have 2 minutes left.”

“I’m coming in a minute.”

Most of the time, it works.

The second style of the countdown is “3..2..1..go” 

When she is not listening I try this, and sometimes it works.

I think it gives her a sense of playfulness.

11- Offer choices

“Do you want these pajamas or this one? Which one do you want as we are going to bed.”

“Choose your pajamas for tonight.”

Again, for most of the kids, this works, as it’s a kind of distraction.

Offering choices has been one of the best things that helped me to deal with my daughter. She is not a stubborn child, but when she becomes one, it makes my life awful.

And this one is usually one of my ways to go.

12- Distraction

Another kind of ‘’offering choices’’ is a distraction. Sometimes, when nothing works, distraction may work.

Move their concentration. They are crying for another candy, making them focus on what weird thing the cat is doing. 

Many parents think that distraction is not a good kind of discipline, but I believe that when the child is in a bad mood, he or she may not listen to whatever you say.

At this time, distraction works. 

You can discipline them later on when they are in the mood of listening.

Readout about: When to talk so the kids will listen.

13- Use positive words

“Bad girl!”

Please don’t say that.

“Be a good girl” isn’t better?:

Use of words is something really really important in parenting or you can say positive parenting.

Look for the words you use to talk with your child.

14- Use Reverse Psychology

Using reverse psychology is something not every parent usually uses and many don’t even reach out to this idea.

“Do you want to sleep, baby?”

“No! I don’t.”

“Okay! Don’t sleep, I’m turning my back and when I see you, you should not be sleeping.”

Many kids take this as some sort of playfulness and they usually do the opposite.

Don’t worry the kid is not gonna learn to disobey you. They are just playing.


What to do when the child starts throwing a tantrum or starts crying for something and you are wanting to yell but you don’t want to follow any of the negative practices like yelling, hitting, bribing or threatening?


 15- Stay calm

When your child starts throwing a tantrum, the first thing you must do is to stay calm. 

Well, you can’t! Most of the mothers can’t. But you should keep trying.

Let me list down some of the steps I mentioned in another blog post about “How to be a more patient mom?”

1- Keep quiet

2- Turn Back and close your eyes

3- Take a few deep breaths

4- Count to 10 

5- Look into the baby’s eyes

6- Try Whispering 

Check out the details here.

16- Encourage to talk

Instead of asking the child, “Stop Crying!”. Ask her, “Why are you crying?”

Encourage her to talk, children usually throw tantrums when they are not able to express their feelings.

Check out the reasons toddlers throw tantrums and what to do?

Encouraging her to talk will help the child to cool down a bit and share the feeling instead of crying. 

Try whispering! It helps both parents and kids to slow down and focus.

When they talk, listen to them carefully and pay attention. 

17- Repeat their demand

When they finally talk, you can try repeating their words or demands. Like,

“I see, you don’t want to go to bed and play instead, but you know it’s time to go to bed so we must be in bed right now.”

Repeating the demand helps the child to know that the parent understands them and it can slow them down.

18- Use wrong words

The next step can be using the words in the wrong way.

“I see! You don’t wanna Pleep, Oop, I mean sleep” Hand on the forehead*

It usually helps me to slow down my child and a few wrong words eventually make her laugh. Sometimes she even forgets to cry.

Silly faces make the process even smoother.

19- Think Like A Criminal

At the end;

“Think like a criminal to beat them at their own game.”

Think like a baby, what she wants, what she needs.

If you were a baby of a few years old, would you agree to go to sleep when you are having fun playing?

Being in their place will help you to set realistic expectations and become a positive and more patient mom.

How to stop a child from yelling and screaming?

Before leaving, check out my latest blog posts here. 

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