The 10 Best Tips From Parenting Experts

Parenting experts say this is how you raise a healthy child.
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There are so many websites, books, and products offering different ideas about child discipline that it can feel overwhelming. However, while there's no one right way to discipline, there are many proven techniques to try that tend to get positive results.

When you're trying to address your child's behavior problems, it's important to seek credible information that's based on the best parenting strategies. 

Family, friends, family counselors, and your child's pediatrician are all potential resources for effective discipline practices. However, it can be tricky to know which ones are most likely to work with your kids. If you're looking for proven techniques, try these parenting expert-tested discipline techniques. Learn more about the best parenting advice from 10 top experts in the field.

Best Parenting Advice

To help you get answers about which discipline strategies work best, 10 parenting experts offered their most important parenting tips. Here's what they had to say:

  • It's Ok for your child to be mad at you
  • Treat your child with respect
  • Look at the big picture
  • Give effective instructions
  • Use natural consequences
  • Problem-solve together
  • Use discipline to teach, not punish
  • Provide praise for good behavior
  • Be consistent with discipline
  • View misbehavior as a sign your child has a problem

It's OK for Your Child to Be Mad at You

“Be a parent, not a friend. This means you cannot be afraid to be the bad guy. Your child might be angry with you sometimes. Deal with it. The alternative is having an obnoxious kid. Let him fail sometimes. If you don’t, how do you expect him to ever learn how to cope with life’s ups and downs? Nobody is successful at everything. Sometimes, you have to fail in order to succeed.”

Lori Freson, Licensed Marriage, and Family Therapist

Treat Your Child With Respect

“Do not name call or hit: Kids learn from you, being abusive or hitting just teaches them to handle conflict with aggression and meanness. If you feel super angry in the moment, take a time out and walk away, come back later and have a plan for discipline. If you lose your cool, explain that you did and make clear you wish you had not. A firm and even angry but measured tone is much more effective than sounding out of control and vindictive.”

Dr. Gail Saltz, Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Bestselling Author, and Television Commentator

Look at the Big Picture

“Once your child hits the teen years, don't get lost in the details by focusing too much on the day to day behaviors and moods of your child. At this point, frequently remind yourself that your teenager will soon be able to leave the house and will have the power to decide how emotionally connected he or she wants to remain with you for the rest of your lives. The more you focus on building a democratic relationship during the teen years, the more your soon-to-be grown child will like and appreciate you for years to come.”

Seth Meyers, Psychologist

Give Effective Instructions

“If you have to tell your child the same thing repeatedly before they respond, then you are training them to ignore you.”

David Johnson, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Use Natural Consequences

"Use natural consequences if possible. Parents may feel they have to punish kids for mistakes or misbehavior rather than letting real-life take its course. If your child refuses to put on his coat, let him get cold. If he fails to clean his room, let his toys get lost. It’s tempting to engineer other consequences, like taking away video games or TV time, because we don’t always trust that natural consequences will work. But over time they do have a way of shaping behavior."

Heidi Smith Luedtke, Personality Psychologist and Author of "Detachment Parenting: 33 Ways to Keep Your Cool When Kids Melt Down"

Problem-Solve Together

"Problem-solving is what must replace punishment in order to develop responsible, respectful behavior in children and adults. Punishment is a coercive manipulative tactic used to get children to do what we want. It does nothing to develop character and empathy. In fact, it is what is part of creating bullies. Children do not learn through fear and force. Their unacceptable behavior is meant to tell us that they are having a problem, not being a problem."

Bonnie Harris, Parenting Educator and Director of Connective Parenting

Use Discipline to Teach, Not Punish

"Understand the meaning of the word discipline. It's all about teaching and education, not punishment, threats, and training. Think of yourself as a teacher and show your child you respect them by explaining why the limit needs to be set. Help them understand it's for their own good and the benefits to them. Respect is a gateway to your child's cooperation!"

Tom Limbert, Parenting Coach and Author of "Dad’s Playbook: Wisdom for Fathers from the Greatest Coaches of All Time"

Provide Praise for Good Behavior

"It may seem hard to believe when you're struggling with your kids, but children really do want to please their parents. Nothing makes a child happier than the pride they feel when receiving praise from their mother or father. This desire to please our parents is so strong that it lasts right into adulthood."

Dana Obleman, Author of "Kids: the Manual"

Be Consistent With Discipline

"Be consistent. Inconsistent discipline can actually reinforce negative behaviors because your child will keep trying in the hopes that this time he won't get in trouble."

Susan Bartell, Psychologist, and Author of "Top 50 Questions Kids Ask"

View Misbehavior as a Sign Your Child Has a Problem

"The child's problem is there is something that he needs and wants and doesn't know how else to get other than misbehaving. A parent often has a problem with the child's behavior. Unfortunately, the parent usually starts by trying to solve her problem and never gets around to solving the child's problem."

Nancy Buck, Developmental Psychologist and Creator of Peaceful Parenting Inc.

By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Mind. She's also a psychotherapist, an international bestselling author of books on mental strength and host of The Verywell Mind Podcast. She delivered one of the most popular TEDx talks of all time.