Helping a child to behave in an acceptable manner is a necessary part of raising the child well. Discipline varies at different ages. There is no one right way to raise children, but child and adolescent psychiatrists offer the following general guidelines:

Children generally want to please their parents. Wise parents can in their disciplining activities use children's desire to please.

The way the parent corrects a child or adolescent for misbehavior should make sense to the youngster, and not be too strict that the child or adolescent cannot later feel the parent's love and good intentions.

In our mixed society, where cultures and parenting styles are varied, different families expect different behaviors from their children.

Keeping unwanted behavior from happening in the first place is easier than stopping it later.

Changing a child's unwanted behaviors can help the child have the self-control needed to become responsible and considerate of others.

Families pass methods of discipline and what is expected of children from generation to generation.

When discipline attempts are not successful, it is often helpful for someone outside the family to make useful suggestions on raising a child. Professionals trained in child growth and behavior can give information on the way children think and develop. They can also suggest different approaches to changing unwanted behavior. The patience of parents, and help from caring professionals, when necessary, will help smooth the way for children to learn and enjoy what society expects of them and what they can expect from themselves.

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