Parenting Discussion: How do you Discipline and Follow Through

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I think it benefits all to have a Parenting Discussion, this topic is all about How you Discipline and Follow Through.

I was recently having a parenting discussion with my siblings at our family reunion, and it turned to a discussion all about discipline and following through with kids. I thought it was worth putting down in words, and getting some feedback.  Who is up for a discussion???

Are you free range parent? Are you helicopter parent? Do you feel you discipline sternly? How well do you follow through with discipline?

Parenting Discussion on Discipline


I’m always up for a good parenting discussion, and how we each discipline is as varied as there are parents out there, it seems. I like watching and hearing how others do things, but I am a firm believer that I sit silently, and do NOT offer my thoughts, unless someone asks. I then expect the same from others around me. I do not like to be told how to parent, especially in the moment.  However, I do feel like I am open minded, always looking to improve, and when I’m NOT in the middle of a discipline (or just after) I’m up for talking through ways with how I can better myself and my ways.

My degree is in Human Development, and I took a lot of Child Development classes, so I think a lot of my background comes from that, but I also have great parents that were firm but loving, and it’s a philosophy I’ve taken with my family.  I also LOVED the Supernanny reality show that was on years ago, she is amazing!

I’m going to spill my thoughts, and what I aim(ed) to do with my young kids, and I’d love to hear from you at the end!

Here’s the deal…I am seriously forgetful! Why is it that I can’t seem to remember what I did ten years ago in regards to discipline? I have only vague, general memories.

Here is what I do remember.

TIME OUT Discipline

I remember once that I was putting my 2 year old in time out, and a friend of mine said, “He’s just a BABY!” But you know what? He learned young that mama don’t mess around. I feel I was firm, but loving. Always extended love after a punishment so there wasn’t a question. (Look them in the eye, say I love you, hug it out). When he didn’t stay in a time out spot, I heard a recommendation to get an old car seat and strap them into that time out spot, and I did just that. With all of my other kids as well, and it worked like a charm. Then as they got older, they just knew to

I haven’t done time out with my kids in a while, now that I think about it. They have pretty good behavior: respectful to me, their siblings, teachers. I’ve always thought they came with pretty good temperaments, but my husband and dad reminded me that that wasn’t necessarily the case. I do have a funny memory of carrying my almost 2 year old out of Toy R Us, flung partly over my shoulder, because I was 8 months pregnant and couldn’t hold him easily while he was kicking and screaming. He just wanted to play with the Thomas the Train set longer…(I giggled as I walked out of the store with my head held high).

These days, I really don’t have much to complain about when it comes to respect for family and others. They really do love each other, my kids, and I really haven’t had any disrespectful back talk–yet.

My youngest (who is 7) I’ll have her go sit in a chair, and decompress, and she knows she needs some time away. She is the one whose WILL I had to struggle to break a bit more. But the rest of them, when they were little, they sat in time out for as many minutes as their age. Age 3–3 minutes. And that felt like an ETERNITY to them! I also always said that the timer did not start until the loud tantrum stopped. Time out is for calm thinking, not raging.


When there was an “offense of the mouth”,  it first got washed out with soap.

Mouth offenses:

  • lying
  • speaking unkindly
  • yelling

Then when soap wasn’t working, we moved onto tabasco sauce. We even tried a dab of cocoa on the tongue, and it seems odd, but that was NOT enjoyable the them.


One thing that I remember very vividly, was my husband commenting at one point (kindly, patiently) that I needed to follow through. If they didn’t do what I asked, I may have ignored it. If I asked them to do something and they didn’t, I needed to follow up. If I put in time out and they escape, I need to carry them right back (thanks, Supernanny!)

As the mom staying home, I did the bulk of the discipline, because I was with the kids all day. It wore me out at times, and I let some things slip that I had maybe urged the kids to do (some might say threatened). My husband noticed my laxadasical attitude, and called me on it, and I really appreciated it, because it whipped me into shape. I had to follow through, or else they’d be ruling over me.

These are just 3 things that stand out to me when it comes to discipline, and I’ve basically shaped my parenting after this.

I don’t believe…

  1. I do not believe in shaming. I’ve always recognized that my young kids were little bodies, but my equal. Though I raised my voice with impatience, I chose my words carefully, and always saw them as their future amazing selves.  When they were in trouble or naughty, they knew it, and I didn’t need to rub their noses in it.
  2. I also do not believe in the rhetorical questions, “How many times have I asked you not to do that?” “What are you thinking????” “Why would you do that?” These questions are something they could never actually come up with an answer to, so only makes them feel dumb and insecure because they can’t answer them. {I couldn’t answer them myself if someone asked ME!} My inner policy, before I could even articulate it into words, was to build confidence and self esteem, in everything I did. When my kids were young, mom my told me that my dad never liked the rhetorical questions with parenting, and that really resonated with me.

Semantics. Instead of saying, “that’s naughty” or “I’m so frustrated” A phrase I said a LOT was, “I’m not happy that you did that” or “That was not a good choice.”

Random Thoughts

  • I do not tolerate unkindness, and whenever my kids fought as little ones, I dealt with it then, time out if needed. (With siblings or with friends) I’ve never really been one to threaten taking away a favorite toy or activity or something, mainly just because it didn’t sit well with me. {I have watched moms threaten not going to a friends birthday party if their child didn’t “XYZ” and on the inside thought…you’re never going to actually withhold that…some may, most may not.} I get that there is a wit’s end, but that was just never my way. And maybe because I was firm with these other tactics, I didn’t have to threaten in a big way. I have seen displays of sibling rivalry in public, and the mom saying, “Sally, be nice to your brother” or just rolling their eyes to another adult, but not actually take action when the wrong kept happening. My policy was: Eyeballs to eyeballs, I’d crouch down and look them in the eye with firmness saying that wasn’t ok.
  • I do remember not feeling like I wanted to spank, (thought it happened from time to time) but I did slap them on the hands as a form of discipline when they struggled to listen.
  • I also counted. And I STILL count. I’d announce, “I want you standing in front of me in 5 seconds” in a firm voice, count down, and by 5 they were in front of me. This was often after they didn’t come the first or second time I asked. I’ve learned to just start with the count when I need an immediate response, but I also believe in LOTS of warnings about time expectations.
  • I had to train myself not to yell when I got frustrated, too. I was doing it too much, and I just didn’t like how they looked at me when I did, and how I felt inside (and my throat got sore) that when my oldest was 7 or 8, it’s like an addiction that I just told myself I didn’t want to do it anymore, and made a conscious effort to stop. There is a split second where we all make a choice: yell or not yell.

Parenting discussion on discipline and following through with kids

With all of that discipline, I cuddled a lot, played a lot, sang songs, showed love, so there has never been a question in my kids minds as to how I feel about them. As I type it all out, it sounds more harsh to me, but I never felt that.

My kids: teens and pre-teens, are truly respectful of me, and it warms my heart on a daily basis. They are my favorite people to be around, and though there is still a bit of growing to do, I feel optimistic, for now.


I’m struggling with my follow through on cutting off the electronics when I ask (my boys are often “in the middle of a game” with others, and I try to be lenient without getting walked over, and it’s a fine line. Daily struggle there. I also struggle with expectations with chores, and because of that our home isn’t in tip top clean shape. But I’m ok with that. I am NOT perfect with discipline, mostly on things that don’t matter as much to me, but the things that do–the people things and respect–I made it a priority to shape. I need some work on the home expectations.

I share all of this not to brag, but to encourage. A friend of mine with young kids was asking, and I mentioned a few of the things I typed above, and she’d never thought of some, so I hope this comes across the right way.
PLEASE SHARE WITH ME your discipline tips or struggles. We can all benefit from each other!

Here are a few books I love. The Eyre’s (last 3) have so many amazing parenting books, and then the How to Talk book (bright yellow) I’m currently working through and love it.


Join The Discussion



  1. Dana Eschberger says:

    It is so very refreshing to see your parenting style, my baby is 22 (not a baby any more but mine none the less…) and I tried the time out thing and my son just needed a firmer hand than that. I wish more parents were like you, we now have a society that is entitled and spoiled…all because parents won’t discipline. It isn’t stifling their creativity, or breaking their spirit. It is teaching them that in life you don’t stomp your feet and get your way. Keep doing the wonderful job, heck go a step further and pat yourself on the back, I think you’ve aced being a parent!! God bless you and your family 😊.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Dana, you are so sweet, thank you! As I typed, I felt it was seeming more and more harsh, but at the same time, I feel happy with the kids as they’ve grown, so I’ll do a half pat on the back, because I still have years to go! I don’t have all the answers, but I observe a lot, and am doing my best–at least half of the time, haha!

  2. Joy says:

    I have done time outs, and counting. The counting definitely lets kids know you have an expectation, and if not met, they must face consequences. I admit that I yell too much, and have been trying to consciously catch myself and make the choice to not yell and choose my works more wisely. I’ll also admit that I’m much more lax with my three-year-old than I was with his older siblings. I believe this stems from the fact that I work full time now, and previously had more time at home with the other two. I believe it’s important for parents to be on the same page and have the same rules. My husband lacks follow through, and our three-year-old has definitely picked up on that. He will behave perfectly for me in a store, but have a completely different attitude if “daddy” is around. That’s extremely frustrating for me.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Joy, thank you for sharing, I think we all benefit from it! I can imagine that it would be that much more challenging to follow through when you are away a lot of the day, and come home, just wanting to have happiness. And yes, getting on the same page is tough, my husband and I still do things differently, but we try to talk it out and meet each other somewhere in the middle. He wants to revoke privileges (take the electronics away for a week for not doing the dishes by a certain time) and I’m just not into that, and since I’m the one home with them all day (and punished as well) I talk him down to a lesser punishment. Maybe suggest reading a book together or something?

  3. Leire says:

    We are still in the early days of parenting but it already is a busy home with an almost 3 year old and two 18 month olds. We do not believe in punishment nor time out. We raise our kids by natural consequences, always stay close when they get angry or throw a tantrum and we try to provide them healthier ways to deal with their feelings.
    Lately, as the twins grow, conflicts are increasing and I have found myself yelling, bargaining, losing my patience. I try to remember they are trying to find their place in the family and the twins own identity is blossoming, so it truly is a beautiful time and I pray not to mess it up.
    Children should not be spanked, specially not in their heads or the opposite side of the hands palm, it is a place full of nerve terminations. It is dangerous.
    Thank you for bringing out this important topic

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Leire, thank you for sharing! Wow, 3 under 3 is a lot all at once, sounds like you have a well thought out plan. I agree, it’s important to help guide the children to deal with their families, and be in tune with what they feel, so they can learn to deal with it on their own. I always wanted twins, how fun to watch them grow and blossom together and individually!

  4. Caroline says:

    Well written points and with a really good attitude (I hope that makes sense).. We try and do a similar thing with ours (well the 4 year old). And this is a good reminder for us. she’s just gone through a testing time and I feel like we are getting back on track. It’s such a tricky topic. Did you do rewards/sticker charts for good behaviour? Just curious

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Caroline, thanks for sharing your thoughts, it IS a tricky topic! I think we all need to be reminded, it’s a tough, constant battle with discipline.

      You know, I never really did do a reward/sticker chart (that I can recall). I know I’ve heard friends will do a warm fuzzy jar, and put something in the jar for good deeds and happiness, etc. and I always liked that idea, but have never done it. I think its a great positive re-enforcement tool.

  5. Carol says:

    Thankfully my children mainly responded well to just discussing their behaviour and suggestions to find better ways to deal with situations. When they were really little I used some time outs, but would never have “strapped” them in. I always strove to treat them with gentleness and grace and the way I would want to be treated. Therefore, the thoughts of forcibly “washing their mouths out” with something unpleasant is harsh-sounding to me and I am thankful my parents never did that to me or that I did not do that to my children. I can tell how much you love your children – every family navigates their way through differently.

    • Kristen Duke says:

      That’s wonderful! Yes, it definitely sounded more harsh as I typed it out, but I feel grateful that the strapping really only needed to be done once or twice, while I sat there, for them to get it, so that other times, they understood to stay still. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it’s true, we all navigate parenting differently, and we have to do what feels good to us.

  6. Nic says:

    Really interesting topic. I also lack on follow through. I try to be better about it especially since my husband sounds like yours in that he’ll have a disproportionately (to me anyways) have a punishment for a minor infarction. We used to use a checklist because my kids love checklists. No major reward for doing things we expected. We also do the counting down to time out. I loved SuperNanny and even checked her book from the library. The key to parenting is consistency and love. Like whichever method you choose, be consistent and loving.

  7. Nicole says:

    Important topic, and I am glad you wrote out what you do. I would say that as my kids get older (mine are 10 yr, 8yr, and 6 months – no discipline for her yet!), that finding ways to make discipline work is harder. I think the hardest thing for me is having clearly defined consequences before the offense occurs, following through, and yelling. My husband has his own things to work on (which goes along with rhetorical questions). Being a parent is hard – no matter the age. I have the How to Talk book and have started reading it twice now. I really should just sit down and get through it.

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