Home > Kids > Childhood Development > Building Self-Esteem > Discipline Without Damage to Self-Esteem

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Discipline Without Damage to Self-Esteem

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: How do I discipline my child without hurting his self-esteem?

A: How you build your child's self-esteem on a regular basis gives you the foundation and the tools to discipline your child while still encouraging his self-worth. Let me offer some general self-esteem builders and some specific "disciplining with self-esteem in mind" pointers:


* Always focus on and encourage your child's assets and strengths
*Accept and make your child feel that she is appreciated and loved "just as she is"
*Show your children the same respect you wish to be accorded
*Praise effort and improvement not just perfect accomplishment
*Communicate your faith and trust in your child and her goodness
* Make sure your standards and expectations are not so high that they discourage and promote failure


* Tell and show your child you trust her to act responsibly as you discipline
* Tell her you expect she will learn from this experience
* Separate the deed from the doer; she is acceptable, lovable, despite her behavior
* Through your disciplining voice and actions, reassure her that she has your continuing love and support even though you do not accept what she did
* Always give her your belief that she will choose differently the next time a similar situation arises

Discipline is teaching combined with respect and support; it is not to be confused with punishment that shames and alienates children.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks