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You Disagree With Your Child’s Parenting Style


My daughter will ask her 5-year-old son to do something, and then if he doesn't do it she'll ask him again followed by, "If you won't listen to me, I am going to take away your favorite toy for a day." I agree with her taking something away from him for not minding her, but a whole day seems harsh for a 5-year-old. Am I wrong? I feel so sad for him.


It is difficult to be a grandparent and respect the parenting techniques that your child chooses to use with your grandchildren. Your daughter is definitely using some parenting skills that can be effective, however, we would recommend a couple of adjustments.

She wants him to learn a skill called “following instructions.” When she asks him to do something and he doesn't do it right away, instead of warning and threatening to use a consequence we recommend using a parenting skill we call “corrective teaching.”

Corrective teaching is a calm response to stop a negative behavior and teach a more socially acceptable behavior. It sounds like this:

  1. “Hey buddy, just now Mommy asked you to put your books in the basket and you ignored me.
  2. Because you ignored me, your books are going to be in time-out for the next ___ minutes.
  3. The next time you are asked to do something, you need to stop what you are doing and look at me. Say "OK," and do it right away.  
  4. OK, now let's practice that again. I am going to ask you to put your books in the basket. Show me how you stop what you are doing and look at me. Then say "OK" and do it right away.”

To respond to your initial question, it is recommended that when children or their toys are placed in time-out, that the number of minutes are the same as their age. You can help your grandson by helping him practice the skill described above.

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