Parenting Sucks: Discipline Advice

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Dear Joanne,

My five year-old son won’t listen to me. If he misbehaves, I threaten to punish him, but he won’t stop and keeps doing it anyway. No matter how many times I warn him, he doesn’t seem to care and does whatever he wants to do. Do you have any advice for me?



Dear Carla,

Actually, I do have some advice, but you’re not going to like it. From what you’ve told me, it seems the source of the problem might be the way you’re handling the situation. When you say, “no matter how many times I warn him,” that’s where the problem may lie. I’m sure you’ve seen parents at the park tell their kid’s that if they bite little Jimmy one more time, they’re going to leave the park, and then when their kid leaves yet another set of teeth marks on poor little Jimmy, they don’t leave! Instead, they threaten their kid again, giving them one more chance. NO! Enough of the chances! Parents need to let their children know that when they say something, they mean business!

If your son acts inappropriately and you tell him if he does it again he’ll be punished (perhaps you’ll take his favorite toy away or he’ll lose TV time, or whatever your child’s “currency” is), you must follow through the first time! If you don’t, and you let his behavior continue, you’re teaching your son that they can keep misbehaving and there won’t be any consequence. And he gets the added bonus of watching mommy turn into a crazed lunatic!

So Carla, right now I’d like you to place your right hand over your heart and pledge that from this day forward, you promise to only give one warning and then follow through. And do this EVERY single time! If you aren’t consistent, you’ll send mixed messages to your child and this can make matters even worse. If you don’t change your ways now, the problems will grow as your kid does and one day in the not too distant future, you’ll be dealing with a son who won’t listen to you AND knows where the car keys are!

Joanne Kimes is the author of the bestselling “Sucks” series as well as “The Stay-at-Home Martyr.” Visit her at

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.