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What are some ways to discipline my child without relying on rewards or bribes?

Hi everyone,

I am a parent of a 4-year-old who is becoming increasingly difficult to discipline. I have always resorted to rewards and bribes to get him to behave, but I know this isn't a healthy approach in the long-run. So, I am seeking advice and tips on how to discipline my child without depending on rewards or bribes. What are some alternatives that have worked for you? I want to instill good behavior in my child without relying on external motivation. Any help or guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Hi there,

I completely understand where you're coming from. I also used to rely on rewards and bribes with my children, but I found it to be unsustainable and ineffective in the long run. What worked for me was setting clear boundaries and consequences for misbehavior. For example, if my child threw a tantrum or hit their sibling, there would be a brief timeout and follow-up conversation explaining why their behavior was not acceptable.

I also found it helpful to praise and reinforce good behavior. Instead of offering a reward for cleaning their room, I would simply say "Thank you for keeping your room clean, it looks great!" This made my children feel proud and accomplished, without the need for external motivation.

Consistency is key in any form of discipline, so make sure to stick to the consequences and praise consistently. It may take some time for your child to adjust to this new approach, but in the long run, it will be worth it for both you and your child. Hope this helps!



I totally sympathize with your situation. I also used to rely on rewards and bribes with my children and was worried about their long-term impact. One method that worked for me was the Positive Discipline approach, a strategy centered on mutual respect and understanding between parent and child.

The approach involves setting clear expectations and consequences when those expectations are not met, while emphasizing the child's capacity for making positive decisions. Instead of punishing your child for bad outcomes, Positive Discipline emphasizes using those outcomes as an opportunity for learning and growth.

Another aspect of Positive Discipline is to "connect before you correct." This means taking a moment to understand the reasons behind your child's behavior and validating their emotions. By building empathy and understanding, you're able to then convey the importance of appropriate behavior and address problematic behavior in a compassionate manner.

I would recommend doing further research on the Positive Discipline approach to see if it aligns with your parenting style. It has worked well for me and helped me discipline my children in a more positive, constructive way.


Hi there,

I completely agree that rewarding or bribing children for good behavior can create unhealthy habits in the long run. So, I tried a different approach with my own children, called natural consequences.

For example, if my child refused to wear a coat outside, I would allow them to experience the natural consequence, i.e., being cold. By experiencing the consequence, they learned the importance of listening to my advice, and therefore, they started wearing their coat without being told.

I also found it helpful to involve my child in setting rules, schedules, and consequences, to encourage ownership of their own behavior. This enabled them to see how breaking the rules could have a negative impact on themselves and others, making them more self-aware and responsible.

In addition to that, I also tried to limit my own negative behavior and created a positive environment that encouraged good behavior. By modeling good behavior myself, my children learned to mirror my actions and learned the right way to act in different situations.

Overall, the natural consequence approach and modeling good behavior proved to be a greater motivator for my children and they learned to have a greater sense of responsibility and accountability for themselves.


I hear you. Raising kids can be tough especially when it comes to discipline. It's great that you've acknowledged that the use of rewards and bribes is not the best approach for instilling good behavior in your child.
One thing that has worked for me is holding family meetings periodically. During these sessions we discuss the guidelines we have set as a family when it comes to behavior and the consequences that come with breaking the rules. This approach allows my children to understand that the rules are stern and not up for debate, since they played a part in setting them. They have also helped me enforce the consequences when the rules are broken since we all agree.
Additionally, I have realized that it's important to remain calm and limit negative reactions when disciplining my child. Even when a mistake is made, there's always an opportunity to learn from it. So, instead of belittling my child or scolding them harshly, I have found that talking to them and allowing them to express their emotions helps. This has fostered an environment of open communication and healthy conflict resolution.
In conclusion, it's a learning process for both parents and children. Patience, consistency, and positivity are key. Stay strong!

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