The Do’s And Don’ts Of Reprimanding Your Children

Children do a lot of things that could get the rest of their family angry. The younger ones could break something accidentally, the grade-schoolers might snag a few sweets from the refrigerator without telling, and the adolescents might come home past their curfew. Situations like these aren’t uncommon.

Your child will inevitably do something that’ll get you angry. It is a common occurrence in any family. What’s sure to happen next is a thorough scolding and the warning that it should never happen again.


But how should parents go about reprimanding their children? Is there a right and wrong way to do it? And how can you do it most effectively? Wonder no more. Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow when reprimanding your child!

Don’t Scream At Them

“Getting angry, becoming emotional, crying, laying guilt trips, or even nervously laughing are all inappropriate emotions during discipline.” That is according to Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC. Instead, take a deep breath before confronting your child about what they did. You have to be able to speak with them and discuss the matter rationally. No matter how angry or irritated you are, find a way to get rid of these negative emotions.

If you begin scolding your child while you’re angry, you may end up saying something you’ll regret. It will probably help in getting rid of your anger, but it might scar your child. As much as possible, avoid cursing them or calling them derogatory names. Doing that is counterintuitive.

Additionally, don’t raise your voice with your child while talking about what they did wrong. Children, especially younger ones, might get frightened if you yell at them. Moreover, there’s a high chance that your child will forget what you were trying to tell them. All they’ll remember was the fact that you screamed at them and the fear that followed from that.


Be calm. Find a way to relax. You have to be able to address the situation with a clear mind. Doing this is both for your sake and your child’s.

Don’t Hurt Them Physically

“Nothing ruins self-esteem like surrounding yourself with people who abuse or neglect you,” explains Karen R. Koenig, MEd, LCSW. Spanking or slapping your child as punishment is a big no-no. The reasons why are very similar to the ones stated in the previous item. Physical punishment might scare children. It might also lead to them failing to understand what they did wrong. A slap or a spank, after all, doesn’t explicitly inform them of their wrongdoing. All it does is make them feel pain and fear.

Scientific studies show that physically punishing your children for their wrongdoing is ineffective. It is, in fact, harmful as it may lead to behavioral and mental health problems. There are many alternatives to physical punishment. These alternatives may prove to be less harmful, more effective, and, most importantly, more humane.

Before punishing your child physically, ask yourself if you can fix the problem by talking to them. Next time, think twice before deciding to slap or spank your child. Won’t doing so do more harm than good? Studies point to the answer being yes.

Do Explain What They Did Wrong

Sit down with your child and approach them about what happened. Tell them what they did wrong and why you’re angry about it. Allow them to ask questions about the whole situation. Make sure to answer these questions as best you can. “It’s important to ensure your parenting style is supporting healthy growth and development because the way you interact with your child and how you discipline her will influence her for the rest of her life.” Amy Morin, LCSW said.

Let’s say your child accidentally knocks over a picture frame and the glass breaks. Explain to them why you’re saddened and frustrated. Tell them that you bought that frame and that you were using it to hold a memorable photo. Also, explain to the children that they should be more careful next time. Do this so that they don’t break anything else and hurt themselves in the process. What you want is for your children to understand what you’re telling them. You also want them to try and better their behavior.

Do Discuss The Consequences Of Their Actions

Make sure that your children grasp that all things have consequences. When they do something terrible, repercussions will follow.

Let’s say; for instance, your child breaks a pen that belongs to someone else at school. Make sure they know that they have to apologize for what they did. Sincerely. That’s a consequence following their wrongdoing. The owner of the pen might also demand your child to replace it, which is another consequence.

There are good consequences and severe consequences. And if your child wants to avoid the latter, then they’ll understand why they’d be better off avoiding doing bad things. Remember why parents reprimand their children as many tend to forget. Your goal when doing this to your children is not to shame them or to make them feel guilty. It is indeed not to make them feel terrible about themselves either.


Ultimately, parents reprimand their children to inform them of the wrong that they did or the damage they’ve caused. You want them to understand why you’re angry and that they shouldn’t do what they did again. Remember these do’s and don’ts so that you may reprimand your children in a way that is harmless and effective.

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