Help Needed – Ineffective Discipline

I am so tired of feeling ineffective.  I feel like we’ve tried it all, and it is NOT working.  With the little one (who is not nearly as strong-willed as the big), it works most of the time.

But for the big one, it DOESN’T.

  • We’ve tried 3-2-1 Magic (which sorta’ kinda’ works), and a variation of it – counting backward from 5.  That works some of the time, as well.
  • We’ve tried time-outs: one minute for each year of life and then MUUUUUUCH longer when the 6 minute thing wasn’t working;
  • spanking: not my favorite method, and it tends to backfire on us – I’m having trouble saying don’t hit one another when we use spanking to discipline them;
  • taking privileges away: computer time, bedtime books, playtime with friends, etc.;
  • yelling & screaming: which never works….though it DOES get his attention, at least!;

Did I mention time-out, spanking, and taking stuff away?  Oh and the Yelling?  (I hate yelling at them!)

Honestly, I’m fresh out of ideas.  I do know several things:

  • These bouts of HARDNESS (for lack of a better word) and rebellion comes and goes;
  • We’ve been cooped up lately w/ sickness, which puts everyone on edge;
  • I might possibly have mentioned this already (snicker!), but he’s EXTREMELY strong-willed.  And bull-headed…erm…Spirited.
  • He is such a sweet, loving  boy A LOT of the time…..and he’s VERY smart and VERY creative.

I want to instill in him a heart that WANTS to obey us and God, as well as a heart that leans toward kindness…..but I also don’t want to squash his drive & determination completely.

So I ask you, dear reader of my blog (or, at the very least, reader of  this one post!) – what do you do to discipline their children and to “train them in the way that they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it.”?  (Proverbs 22:6)

‘Cuz we could really use the help.


Update: After writing this post, I was looking through my parenting books, and my eye fell on The Way of Boys: Raising Healthy Boys in a Challenging and Complex World by Dr. Anthony Rao.  This book is VERY helpful!  It basically says that the things that we’re struggling with are pretty typical for 6-year-old boys, and ways to overcome them – Time-Aways, etc.

Also that too much indoor time (which we’ve had more than enough of with the sickness stuff) increases stress in the younguns….and good outdoor play time is healing.  Which we did today and ahhh, it helped!

Dr. Rao also mentioned that sometimes these crazy behaviors precede a developmental breakthrough of some kind (keeping my fingers crossed on that one!).

Off to do some more reading.  Phew!


  1. REad "Parenting the Spirited Child" and "Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles" Both by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. This has helped me so much. She has you understand your child's point of view, and your own, so that you can make the changes needed to work together instead of against each other.

  2. Castrodaryl says:

    I have read from Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp that discipline is all about dealing with heart issues. We need to know, deal, & train the heart to enable him to obey God & us parents. There are age appropriate methods related to situational circumstances. Key is to be consistent with method. We train & use authority discipline approach for pre teen years together with building strong communication line with child so that we can use influence approach from teens onwards. It was difficult for husband & I to use the rod at first but when we consistently used it we earned our boys respect. My approach is discipline only outright defiance/disobedience, set rules, discipline in private, avoid discipline when parent is still very angry, & pray. Discipline starts with telling child how he has disobeyed, tell him how many spanking he will get, spank, encourage him to ask for forgiveness (give him time alone for a few minutes for strong willed child & if still refuse to apologize I give 1 more spank then alone time etc until he is ready to apologize – this comes with discussion on obeying God & consequence of disobedience & gift of repentance), end with praying to Lord for mercy & grace to obey.

  3. Pigswithwings says:

    We have tried just about everything out there on the gentle positive spectrum from Love and Logic to Positive Parenting Discipline to 1-2-3 Magic, etc. 2 years ago we found Teaching Self Government and haven’t looked back. It has given me tools to help my children obey as well as not be robots without a voice or opinion. It simplified consequences and the implementation. Course has really helped with tone. More than discipline it focuses on family culture. I had a totally out of control boy and wild girls and now things are MUCH better. Even my 2.5 yr old is learning to ask for what she wants/disagree appropriately instead of scream!

    • MOMKABOODLE says:

      Pigswithwings – yes, the robot thing haunts me, too. I want him to be able to govern himself when he's older….but how to find a happy medium now?
      Thanks for your input….I'll have to look into Teaching Self Government!

  4. simplystriving says:

    glad you found some answers you needed! I struggle with this every day. deciphering how to discipline. knowing what's best for my particular child. there's a reason there's thousands of how-to books on the subject!
    and for what it's worth–my favorite one so far has been shepherding a child's heart by Tedd Tripp. sooo practical. and talks more towards the heart of the matter and not the fact of the matter. my kind of language 😉
    blessed to find you through seeds of faith iFellowship! thank you!
    All for Him,