How to discipline a naughty child

In this article, we are going to cover: how the tantrums of the terrible twos start, how to cope with the terrible twos, how to calm your child down when they are having a meltdown, how to punish a naughty child, and how to stop your child saying bad words.

Most parents thrive to be better and having our child misbehave in public can be humiliating. In order to better control their actions we must learn to control ours. Punishment is not a nice thing to enforce, after all we love our children, but that aside, discipline is very important. Without rules, they will do whatever they like, whenever they like and that is not right.

It’s not always easy knowing what to do, in fact being a parent is all about trial and error but it is very easy to fall into the same traps. When parenting you must make sure that you and your partner are both on the same page, if you disagree with each others methods, your child will be able to spot this a mile off. The way to go about effective punishment that will work to drive change is by using the method below.


Before punishing for bad behaviour, you should give your child an opportunity to make a better decision. Let them know what they did is wrong and ask them if they think it is kind or unkind to do that. If they understand that it is bad, then they should get another chance.


If after their chance, they continue the poor behaviour, you should then get down to their level, give eye contact and using a strong voice give them a warning. Tell them that you will take a toy away from them, they will go to bed early or they will lose a privilege if they continue. If their behaviour is too bad and they are being destructive then you can put them on the naughty step, if they get off, put them back. 

It’s important at this point that you do not speak to them until they have calmed down, and at no point should you ever hurt them. If you do, they will lose respect for you and will continue to misbehave in the future.


If the naughty behaviour has continued, you can then go ahead and remove a privilege, send them to bed early, or take away something that they like. Whatever punishment you feel matches the crime. They will get used to this pattern and will know in the future that if they are naughty they will miss out and so naturally their behaviour will improve.


When speaking to them, tell them “You just did this…. Is that kind or is that unkind? Nobody will want to play with you if you act like that”. It’s important that you listen carefully to what they have to say, and that you try to be fair. If you follow this advice, we are sure that you will notice a huge improvement.

How do the terrible twos start?

Terrible two tantrum

Ahh the good old terrible twos, who loves them? Not me. My son is the worst for tantrums. Well, at least, I feel as though he is. I don’t think there has been a day when I have not said: “I can’t cope”. There’s door banging, kicking, screaming, pinching, biting. You name it, I’m sure we’ve seen it happen in the past 6 months! With all of this going on its easy to question how to cope with the terrible twos tantrum stage.

There’s not been a specific time I can mention but it always starts the same “mummy I need a wee”. I turn over and ask him to wait for one minute, or ok ted I am getting up now Oh here we go, he throws himself on the floor in a rage, not caring for who is woken by his screams. It’s by far the most horrible way to wake up EVERY morning, setting myself up for a bad day. After I have taken him to the toilet, sit him there, he starts to boss me about; telling me where to sit, telling me to get him his stool, demanding the light on, a cuddle, his breakfast, kind of like an impossible negotiator, and it’s only 4 am.

Tips for dealing with the terrible twos

Night waking is easily sorted with simple steps of; not turning lights on, not talking to the child unless they have a serious reason, (children thrive from trying to take your attention. If you don’t want them being awake, at silly o’clock, then do not give in to the “mummy I’m hungry, I’m thirsty” etc.) Simply take them to the toilet in the dark, no talking, cuddling and a little kiss is fine. Put them back to bed nice, and calm.

One of my main tips, when your toddler has a hard time with tantrums, is; explain that, what they are demanding is not ok. Teach them deep breathing techniques, talk firmly, but calmly to them instead of shouting. Shouting will only teach them to shout and will end up making the situations harder to deal with.

You will get through the terrible two’s, don’t give up on trying because the harder you try now with combatting anger, the easier your life will be as they grow older. They will learn to calm themselves, and you will be overall a lot happier! Good Luck mummies and daddies, the fact that you’re here looking for help shows that you are doing great and have your little one’s best interest in mind.

How to calm my child down?

Mindfulness is extremely important for our health, however, it isn’t usually taught to kids despite it being highly effective. Meditation is used in many religions but it doesn’t have to be religious. When we get angry, stressed, frustrated, or even upset. These thoughts are compelling and overwhelming. Each negative thought leading to its next, bad action. Whilst these are thoughts that are negatively impacting our mind, behaviour, stress levels and health. They are completely natural, are expected and are experienced by all people.

Mindfulness techniques

They can be quite easy to snap out of, with some simple breaths. Start by teaching your child to breathe in through their nose for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 4, and breathing out for 6 via their mouth. After repeating this cycle a few times, the thoughts can become detached, and you can see them simply for what they are. We no longer feel the need to take action on them, and we see them just passing by.

Please do not be put off, if you have not tried these mindfulness activities before. They can be learned easily with practice and according to studies and personal experiences, they help a lot. My 2-year-old boy suffers like the rest with the terrible two’s. He has lots of tantrums and when he is frustrated, I reason with him. I ask him calmly to take a deep breathe through his nose, and out through his mouth.

He is not perfect at this practice but it does calm him, creates a cheeky smile and helps us move on from the bad behaviour a lot more quickly than before we used this exercise. Maybe they are being naughty because they need more stimulation. Maybe they are just testing your boundaries and you may need to bring in some sort of discipline to establish your authority. It's also possible that it is just a phase, and you will soon learn how to cope with the terrible twos.

The terrible twos is a terrible phase

My little boy who was once so naughty, for example, is much better behaved now. Over time his tantrums have reduced and he now expresses himself a lot better with words instead of anger. We still have the occasional setback, but I am happy that the occurrences have been reduced. I can now enjoy him more without worrying that he will have one of his usual tantrums.

I think eventually your child learns that they cannot continue to behave the way that they do, perhaps they find life easier when they express themselves more clearly. It is also possible that the wonderful nursery teachers have helped him. Having that type of job, surely they must see poor behaviour all of the time. The teachers must be well trained in order to deal with the problem directly. Nonetheless, you will be ok, and next time your child tests your patience. Just remember that you love them and that they are just struggling with the terrible twos in a terrible phase, and all of the terriblenesses will pass.

How to discipline your child?

No matter how good a parent you are at some point your kid will misbehave, it is only natural. As they are trying to push boundaries to see what they can get away with. It’s about how you deal with it that will shape their personality. The important thing to remember is that any time, you react to inappropriate behaviour in a negative way, your little one will copy behaviours. For example, if you shout at your child because you are frustrated with them being naughty.

They will learn that when they are frustrated they should shout. If you swear they will swear. Our brains are like a sponge, they absorb and copy information. From my experience as a dad to two (boy & girl) the way I discipline goes like this: if they do something bad, I first tell them ‘what they have done is wrong, I give them a warning for them to not to do it again and if they do they will go to the naughty step as a punishment.You must make sure that the punishment is something you will enforce, don’t say things that you cannot or won’t do.

Otherwise, they will learn you do not stick to your word. This will teach them that they can take advantage of this by not listening to you. Explain to them why you have put them on the step only once. If they get off before you tell them that it’s okay, simply hold their hand and guide them back without saying anything to them.

Repeat as many times as necessary even though, they will say things to try get off the step such as ‘i need the toilet’. In this case, they can go, but after they should return. With my children, once they have stopped crying and are waiting patiently for me. I then approach them, calmly asking them what they think they did wrong if they do not know I explain again. They have to admit that they’re behaviour was bad, and they have to apologize nicely to the person that was affected.Parents in a relationship should treat the child exactly the same.

They should form a team and agree with each other’s disciplinary rules. Otherwise, they may end up favouring the pushover parent.  Which will only cause conflict and arguments later on? By being calm at all times, you are promoting a good calm behaviour from them.

If you want them to be well behaved civilised humans then you need to realize that you are their role model. You must set the example! I am by no means a perfect dad, there is no such thing. However these techniques I have learned through trial and error and they work effectively. They are simple concepts that can be used to help take control; you are in charge!

Supporting your child’s emotional development

Sometimes, however, you will just have those difficult moments. Where your little one is angry, upset, tired, frustrated and they are going through a difficult development. Discovering new emotions can be overwhelming for them, and whilst they may display poor behaviour, it is not entirely there fault. Punishment and discipline are not always necessary. Sometimes you will just need to be there friend and listen to how they are feeling and why they are sad.

How do kids learn bad words?

How do kids learn bad words?

Children are so intelligent, when they are around four years old it is well known that they ask about 144 questions per day. Their brains absorb every piece of knowledge like a sponge. Whilst they may learn many useful things, that they will likely use later on in life. They can also learn bad words that they hear from an adult.

If they start to use these bad words, it can be embarrassing when you are in company with friends or family, as it reflects badly on you as a parent. You should know that you should not blame yourself, these things happen and are very common in children.

How to stop my child using bad words?

There are many ways to reduce and stop them from saying these bad words. Here are the things that work the best, however you may have to use one or more that suits your child. Each child is unique, and there is rarely a one size fits all approach.

1. Use logic

Explain to them with actual logic that it is a bad word, and that it can upset people. Make it known that it is a naughty word, expressing that they are good. Tell them because they are good, you would like them to stop using those bad words.

2. Ignore the bad, praise the good approach

This works well, it is based on the concept that kids love attention. Good or bad if you ignore what you don’t like they will notice they don’t get a reaction but when they do something good praise it. They will notice that they get attention from being good and will no longer desire to be bad.

3. Use punishments

This works well, it is based on the concept that kids love attention. Good or bad if you ignore what you don’t like they will notice they don’t get a reaction but when they do something good praise it. They will notice that they get attention from being good and will no longer desire to be bad. Punishments can range from sitting on the step for 5 minutes, to going to their room, losing a toy for a day, or even missing out on something that they have been excited about. If it is a toy that you take away, you could give them an opportunity to be well behaved to get the toy back. 

4. Don’t use those bad words anymore

This technique is kind of opposite to the idea suggested above, this one relies on making it known that it is a naughty word and a punishment will be given if they say it. They will likely say it again, and when they do they should go straight to the naughty step, no talking to them until they have been there long enough to realise that what they said is wrong. 

10 reasons why your child says they hate you

10 reasons why your child says they hate you

Those soul crushing words that can break a mother (or father) “I hate you”. A thousand words rush through your head thinking ‘what have I done?’. Most children use these words all too often, not knowing what it really means. Here are some reasons of why they could have said it.

  1. They’ve had a bad day

If your child has gone through a tough day at school/playgroup they might be extra sensitive. Things that happen to a child day to day can affect their moods, the same as us adults it’s just one of those things.

  1. They want attention

Maybe you haven’t tended to their every need, you may be staring down at your phone, cooking, cleaning, working, anything that doesn’t involve your child. This can make them feel alone like you don’t care about them. After all children are super sensitive. Whilst they are saying that they hate you, the opposite is true, they just want more of your time.

  1. They want love

 Some children need more love than others, and some get by on just a few cuddles. Your little one might need a cuddle and a sit down on the sofa with mummy or daddy, they need to be given love little and often, as and when you can. As a child they can feel unloved even with you are showing it. Tell them that you love them more, because you do.

  1. Your mood is rubbing off on them

Being a parent means putting your child’s needs in front of your own. Maybe you’re in need of a break and you can’t help but resent your child for being there stealing your every second. If you are showing them that you are not enjoying their company, this can be a reason why they’ve said that they ‘hate you’.

  1. You don’t give them your time 

We are all guilty of not listening to your child, maybe your rushing off somewhere and don’t have time to listen. Try and keep better track of time so you have time for your little one. Don’t always think what they are telling you is pointless; they could have something really important to tell you and your assuming its just nonsense. You have to find the common ground and the balance between being a friend and being a parent.

  1. Taking sides 

I am personally guilty of doing this myself. When my son (3) and daughter (4) argue, fight or have a disagreement I do find that my daughter gets the blame a lot. Just because most of the time it seems that the older sibling is the one winding the little one up, then the little one reacts. We need to make sure that we hear both sides of the story before judging, the best way to figure out who is being naughty is to listen to their sides of the story and use your best adult judgement to decide whether it was just an accident, or whether someone need a punishment.

  1. You insist that you are right and they are wrong 

We all do this sometimes, and as adults with more knowledge than young children. It’s easy to think that you have more of a chance to be right than someone with less experiences than you. However, adults are wrong a lot, and even the top scientists believe that young children’s brains operate at a genius level. There creativity and imagination is so wide open, after schooling it becomes more limited when they are taught that there is only one way to answer a question.

Many times before when my son or daughter has told me something, I have assumed that they were wrong because ‘mum knows best’ but its not always the case. I have been wrong plenty of times. Now I give them a chance to explain their reasons, and accept that sometimes even us adults get it wrong. The hardest part of being wrong is your high held ego, but honestly let it go, you have nothing to lose.

Instead of point scoring and breaking down walls, get inspired and build relationships. What could be more positive than accepting your wrong and learning something new?

Don’t take it to heart 

We’ve all been a child, and at least once in our lives have said a hurtful thing to our parents. If you react to their hurtful things it will just make matters worse. Instead let them calm down alone and most of the time they will apologise willingly. Instead of holding it against them, talk to them about it. Ask them what’s wrong and if there is anything you can do to support or help them.

It’s no secret that we take things out on the ones that we love the most and that’s just what they are doing. Remember that they don’t really hate you, it’s just a front to what’s really going on inside their minds.

  1. Not enough space

If you’re not giving your child enough time on their own they might be overwhelmed. Let them have an area where they can go if everything becomes too much. An example of this can be a tepee or small tent in the corner of their room with books, toys and sensory things to make them feel calm and have the chance to cool down.=

Some children find drawing or painting very soothing, this expressive art will help them to unwind. A good way to stop problems from forming in the first place would be to ensure that they have the place that they can go when things get too much. Before the problems arise, make sure to set aside a specific time daily when they can be alone to do such activities.

  1. Too many boundaries and rules 

All children need boundaries in life, and rules reinforce behaviours in your child to help them be obedient. It also sets them up to be civilised adults in the community. With that being said, setting too many boundaries can be difficult for them. Routines are great but doing the same thing every day is no fun at all and setting too many rules and boundaries leaves yourself open for them to constantly break the rules.

From breaking the rules, it results in a punishment which granted causes you to use even more energy to keep up, and them to use more energy from dealing with stress, upset, and other emotions. Setting too many rules is a downhill spiral that will cause a lot of problems in your household. By having too many rules and boundaries you must consider the following questions.

  • Are you preventing them from learning something valuable?
  • Is this rule protecting them from danger?
  • If you didn’t have this rule would they damage something?

If you have too many rules in your home, switch it up with the above in mind, and maybe have a day out together, swimming, soft play or cinema goes down a treat, but the important thing is that moderation is the key. Sometimes you can break the rules a little, after all life is all about fun and experiences. Also, its worth noting that children need time to explore their likes and dislikes, so if you suppress that with so many boundaries all you are doing it making them want to do it more without telling you.

  1. Hormones

Teenage girls are known more for this, slamming their door, shouting to the top of their lungs ‘I hate you’ because you’ve told them they can’t stay out past a certain time, or that they are grounded for doing something bad. It can come from anywhere! Teenagers are unpredictable to say the least, so do expect to be hated during your daughter or son’s teenage years.

They don’t really hate you, its just hormones. At the time, it’s likely to feel very real but it’s not. Next time your child turns round and says ‘I hate you’ don’t take it to heart, love them. They are still your child, don’t feel hurt. Just be there for them and they will realise later on.

Does your child say that they hate you a lot? We would love to hear your stories!

Up next: 6 Signs your child has anxiety


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