10 Discipline Methods That Really Don’t Work

Lisa5201 / Getty Images

Lisa5201 / Getty Images

As parents, we must discipline our kids. But how do you do it? What methods work? The most effective methods of discipline are debatable. However, there are many that don’t work. The objective is providing a deterrent for undesirable behavior. Therefore, a non-deterrent is rendered ineffective. Here we discuss ten methods that don’t work.

1. Time outs

We have been using this for years. Punishing a child using the “naughty corner” tries to punish using inactivity. The flip side is that kids tend to fidget anyway and find other ways of entertaining themselves. Hence a non-deterrent.


2. Taking away video games

The problem with this method is that if it works, it probably means that the child had way too much video game time. Therefore, you have another problem to tackle. If they already had minimal game time, they very likely won’t miss it that much.

3. Sending them to read

If telling a child to “go read a book” becomes punishment, the problem will keep compounding. Rest assured you don’t want a child who associates reading with punishment.

4. Spanking

It cannot be said enough. Physically hitting a child solves zero problems. It only develops a culture of fear and sets the tone of using physical aggression for problem solving.

5. Grounding

Ha! Teens have so gotten over this! With the use of technology, their friends are always with them anyway, so grounding is a total waste of time. Additionally, some of us have kids who never want to leave the house anyway.

6. Taking away cell phones

Confiscating cell phones is another waste of time. Unless you’re going to totally unplug them, removing the cell phone is ridiculous. They need to go online to access just about everything these days for school work. So, will you be looking over their shoulders the entire time they do homework to make sure they don’t sign into Messenger or another platform?

7. Throwing out toys

There are some parents who throw away a toy when kids really misbehave. This practice is a bit controversial. Firstly, it’s probably very traumatizing for the child to see their toys dumped. Secondly, if a parent is comfortable throwing out toys as punishment, the kid probably has too many. Once again, is this a deterrent if the child won’t miss it?

8. Extra homework/academic sessions

This is similar to sending a child to read as punishment. Do we really want our kids to associate homework with punishment? This sets the stage for bigger problems.

9. More chores

If a child hated doing dishes when asked, can you imagine adding an extra night of dishwashing? This will cause an all-out mutiny. Kids may learn their lesson about bad behavior, but once again, what are we teaching about chores?

10. Docking allowances

Yes! I love it! But do they care? We feed them, clothe them, transport them, house them, etc. Losing a little allowance is minimal in the grand scheme of things.

So, there you have it. Ten ineffective methods of discipline for children.

So, it begs the question, which methods actually work?

Need more discipline ideas?