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Discipline Tips for Character - How to Discipline Kids without Pressure

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Can you build character without pressure? If your child seems anxious, stressed, or stubborn, something's wrong. Look inside to find out if you're making this discipline mistake and what to do about it.

The Problem is Pressure:

Pretend you have a daughter named Mary. Over time Mary resents your demands to get more A's, to do more chores, to get out of bed in time for school. No matter how much you nag, yell, or threaten, she won't cooperate. For her, your pressure is a vice squeezing and flattening her desire to cooperate. She becomes resistant.

You want to build character, but the problem is pressure.

How Did Your Parents Discipline You?

Perhaps your parents continually pressured you to do more. If so, did you go inside your head and think:

1. Nothing I do is good enough.
2. I wish she'd leave me alone.
3. They're always on my back.

Too much pressure can suffocate your child's desire to achieve.

Disciplining with Pressure - A True Story:

I remember a boy who couldn't relax. His parents kept pressuring him to accomplish more.

He blushed when spoken to. He stuttered when answering. His eyes darted about like a nervous bird. He was the number one student, musician, and athlete. He tried hard and did well. But he never felt good enough.

One day, when he was a teenager, he exploded. His family life changed; all closeness was gone. He left home for good.

His case is extreme and points out what can happen when we pressure too much. If you demand too much of your children, how can you discipline better and build character too?

3 Parenting Tips for Building Character without Pressure:

First Parenting Tip – Question Yourself

1. How is my child reacting to my demands? Notice his body language and his words.
2. How can I prevent my child from being anxious, angry, or stubborn?
3. How can I raise my child without pressure and build character too?

Second Parenting Tip – Appreciate

Develop an eye for appreciation. Instead of insisting that your child do more, notice what she's already done. Drop the pressuring. Increase the motivation with compliments. You could say:

1. You've worked so hard on your homework, why don't you take a break?
2. I enjoyed watching your face at baseball practice because you were having fun.
3. Your room looks good, especially the way you made your bed.

There are parents who might ask, "Are you nuts?" To them I'd answer, "If what you're doing is causing anxiety, anger, and resistance, what have you got to lose? Why not practice these tips?"

Third Parenting Tip – Motivate

1. Share, read, and talk about inspiring stories of heroes. Why stories?

Lectures irritate and stories motivate.

2. Post an inspirational quote on the refrigerator each week. Discuss it. Challenge each member of the family to do something inspiring too. Make sure the challenge is their choice.

3. At Sunday breakfast, ask each member of the family, "What did you do during the week that you're proud of?" Remind them, "It doesn't matter if you succeeded. It matters that you tried." You'll love what you hear.

Conclusion for Building Character without Pressure:

You don't need to raise an anxious child. You don't need to discipline with pressure.

You can build character by improving your discipline, appreciating your child, and using inspirational stories. Motivate your children to discuss what they're proud of too. If you do, you'll be raising a loving family. The kids will achieve and cooperate. One more thing, you'll be raising children with character.


Pick up Discipline Tips for Parents with 41 specific solutions for 41 common behaviors. If you do, you'll get the love and respect you deserve. You'll be raising children with character too.

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