How to Discipline Your Child Without Leaving an Emotional Scar

How to Discipline Your Child Without Leaving an Emotional Scar
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How to Discipline Your Child
How to Discipline Your Child
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“I have to teach you how to get on her butt without leaving a scar,” says a friend jokingly as we discuss the woes of raising strong-willed children. Although she was joking, this conversation really got me to thinking about discipline that is effective without all the scars.

As an adult child of a toxic parent, I am all too familiar with scars however most of mine weren’t visible. I believe these are the worst type of scars because they take the longest to heal. We shall refer to them as emotional scars.

I want to talk about a subject not a lot of people like to discuss however it needs to be addressed; discipline that leaves emotional scars.

As a specialty foster parent it hurts my heart to deal with children daily who are suffering mainly due to emotional scars rendered by their parents.

So what type of discipline leaves emotional scars?


Now I know none of the parents who read my articles abuse their children however according to the 2014 National Children’s Bureau Report, over six million children come to the attention of child protective services each year.

Abuse can show up in many different forms.

Physical. Emotional. Verbal. Sexual.

Although each of these is different in their own way, they all are the same in leaving a lasting scar on a child. But how do you discipline your child without leaving an emotional scar?

Let’s first define the word discipline: training to act in accordance with rules; drill.

Let me tell you a story.

There was this little girl who was extremely difficult, some would call her “strong-willed” because she would constantly push limits and defy authority.

It was natural that her mother was exhausted and tired of dealing with the struggle of parenting her. A normal day in the house consisted of the following: struggle with waking up getting out of the house on time, struggle on the way to school, then once back from school, struggle with homework, struggle with house rules, struggle with bath time routine, then struggle with bed. Wake up in the morning, rinse and repeat.

Who wants to live like that? I would bet a pretty penny no one would be willing to endure their days beginning and ending with a struggle.

So now, let’s add some dialogue in there. Here’s how a normal conversation would go during the struggle.

“I’m so sick of you. You are ridiculous! I can’t even get you to do something as simple as brush your teeth without a fight! You make me late every day for work. You are a bad kid. Just BAD!”

So there were a few other choice words added in there (I wouldn’t dare include them here, we keep things pretty G-rated ;-) so just use your imagination and there you have it.

Discipline in the form of badgering and belittling.


Not good for anyone, especially children.

Of course you don’t mean to do that however sometimes it just happens. So how do you discipline your child effectively without causing emotional scars? I have included some helpful tips that I use that helps everyone involved.

· Don’t talk while mad. There is something about angry that brings out the worst in us. Although it is very healthy to feel anger, it is never okay to act while angry. So be sure to calm down first before you act and if you are feeling angry, the only words that should come out of your mouth is, “please give me a few moments to calm down I will get back to you shortly.”

· Set boundaries. Often time children are not clear of the boundaries (if there are any) and therefore they cross boundaries that may be sacred to you and this intensifies the frustration. When this happens, be sure to have a conversation about the expectations and consequences for the future.

· Clear and consistent consequences. Just like setting boundaries, having a consequence for either following directions or not are crucial for shaping and creating the behavior we want to see. I teach my children that there are good and bad consequences in life depending on the choice you make. Encourage them to make good choices and reward through good consequences.

When you take the time needed to calm down, set boundaries, and have clear and consistent consequences, this will not only allow you to discipline your child without emotional scars but it will also set up a healthy family system that you would wanna brag about. For a more in-depth version of how to eliminate these behaviors, click here to join my Parent Points and check out my FREE report about busting parenting myths!

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