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Parents Panel: What's your go-to response when your child misbehaves?

Time-outs, ‘shadowing’, and turning the Wi-Fi off.

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AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

This week, we asked our panel to tell us how they react when their child disobeys them, misbehaves or is generally, well… bold.

What’s your go-to response when your child misbehaves?

Here’s what they had to say…

Parents Panel All 7 - Copy

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

Listen, understand, explain (or something like that): As parents we do try to follow a consistent pattern to get to the bottom of the problem: listen, understand, explain, apologise. Then: pull hair out, try to remain calm, lose it, regain it… Handing our five-year-old’s misbehaviour is usually easy.  For the 11-year-old, not so much.

- Alan Dooley

A time-out, unless they’re ‘hangry’: My children are still young, so they generally get a warning from me and if they ignore me I give them a time-out. It works to bring them out of the behaviour – unless they are hungry. I’ve learned to my detriment that a hungry toddler is incapable of being disciplined with a mere time-out!

- Denise Cahill

shutterstock_1008507451 Source: Shutterstock/MPIX

Turning off the Wi-Fi: This has changed for me over the years as my eldest two (21 and 16) have grown. I used to stop their pocket money or ground them, but these days the one thing that works for my teenager daughter is turning off the WIFI. A couple of hours with no outside contact works wonders!

- Denise Cumiskey

‘Shadowing’: There’s been a lot of talk on misbehaviour in my mums’ WhatsApp group lately. Charlie is still learning right from wrong, so for now I try to calmly stop any undesired behavior and gently explain that it’s not okay. I will also ‘shadow’ him when I know he’s extra tired (and likely to not want to share, or likely to bite/hit). This means I can prevent misbehaviour, rather than have to discipline it after the fact.

- Kait Quinn

One final chance: Tymek is two and is slowly starting to misbehave. If I ask him to stop doing something and he still doesn’t, he gets one more chance. I’ll say ‘if you’ll do this again we’re leaving/I’ll take this thing off you/we won’t play again.’ And I always keep my word so he knows I am serious.

- Marta Lisiecka

shutterstock_347107283 Source: Shutterstock/SpeedKingz

Shutting down screen time: Most of the bad behaviour among my sons revolves around the natural tension that exists between brothers. Usually, the consequences involve some limitation of screen time, or in extremely rare cases they’ll be grounded.

- Ken Hyland

Counting to ten usually does it: Our go to response when we have any issues that require discipline is that we threaten to count to ten. In the time that it takes us to count, the kids have one last chance to resolve their behaviour and if we reach the number ten, everybody in the house knows that things get serious.

We have also begun allowing the children to help us choose their own rewards or punishments for their behaviour. When one of them misbehaves towards the other, we allow the injured party to have a say also.

- Ross Boxshall

No more perks: We have a very old fashioned approach to discipline in our house. We believe that it is our job to raise the kids as competent, confident and functioning adults, rather than being their friends. We have a number of perks the kids can avail of during the day (Nintendo, screen time, socialising, treats and snacks between meals) provided they participate fully in family life. If they don’t participate fully we remove perks for period of time.

- Susannah O’Brien

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More Parents Panel: What’s one parenting issue you and your partner disagree on?

More Parents Panel: What’s one rule your kids know they can never break?

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