What mistake do parents make around discipline?

Handling a child who is challenging, disruptive and acting up

I meet parents on a 1:1 and every week, parents come to me about a child they are struggling with. They say he is disruptive, challenging and he acts up. They also usually say ‘he gets so much attention!’. They mean he get so much negative attention.

 If what you are doing is not working, try something different!

As I listen to the parents, the question I ask them is ‘What is the intention of his behaviour?’ and they reply ‘To get attention!’

The biggest mistake parents make disciplining children is:

Not giving the right kind of attention

No 1 Tip for Parents

Take the focus off the poor behaviour and put the focus on having a better relationship with your child. This means in the short term, plan to ignore poor behaviour but instead ramp up spending some special 1:1 time and also Noticing him being Good, for every little thing and see what happens.

Meet the Child’s need & they won’t need the behaviour

Every child’s need is to have time with a parent and positive attention, when we actively Meet the Need, they don’t need their poor behaviour. Carve out some 1:1 time with him, a cuddle on the couch, some time as he wakes up, a walk to the shops etc. How much time? 8 minutes a day ensure a child feels loved, valued and secure. If you are a lunch and learn course in one the Banks last week and one of the parents said this:

“The 5-8 minutes spent with a child, on a one to one basis when I arrived home from work worked like magic in our household! Taking the time to empathise with the child also worked and got to the root cause of the behaviour”.

All Behaviour has a reason – get to the ‘why’

We need to understand that our children have missed us when we are out at work and consider it like your phone battery, at 6pm their battery is almost flat. They need you then and if you do not give them your attention, they will demand it in lots of other ways. They also feel that they are not important to you, if you do not stop and spend these few minutes with them saying

‘I have missed you today, I love to see you as I come in the door!’

This literally recharges their battery, meet the need of needing to feel loved and important and very quickly, they will toddle off happily. You then can get on with all your need to do (although involve them if possible) and you will experience a child who is more co operative (as you have co operated with their need) and happier.

Positive Parenting:

In the short term ignore poor behaviour , and offer more positive attention at all other times! The more positive attention you give the less negative attention they will seek, as all behaviour reinforces.

Better Bedtimes

They will settle more easily at nighttime, not having to come down the stairs seeking what they needed during the day and did not get.

Therefore, remember that All Behaviour Has A Reason and as another parent said


Click Here to see Sheila’s video on the biggest discipline mistake parents make.


 ‘It was my behaviour that really needed to change rather than the child’s.

Simple changes brought instant rewards. The calmer I was, the calmer my child was. I focused on remembering to ‘Bin the guilt’ and look after myself which had an immediate knock on effect on my relationship with my child