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3 Simple Techniques I Used To Get My Boys To Behave Between The Ages Of 8 And 14


The following was syndicated from Quora for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at

What are some unique, effective ways to discipline a child?

My younger son Harry, when he was about 10, got in the habit of slamming his bedroom door when he was annoyed about something, which was frequent.

When he came home from school one afternoon, there was no door.

“Dad, where’s my door?”
“It’s in the basement Harry.”
“How come?”
“You seem to be struggling with remembering not to slam it and now you don’t have to worry about it.”
“What the F!!!!”

Thirty days later he came home and the door was back on. Never slammed again.

When my sons were 12 and 14 I struck a deal with them, after being inspired by the book, The One Minute Manager. I offered to take no more than one minute to address behavior shortcoming, if they would agree to listen for the entire minute, not roll their eyes and to say something that acknowledged that I had been heard, in addition to whatever disagreement they may have. It pretty much worked for the rest of the teenage years. It forced me to really think through how I wanted to present a problem, to not repeat myself or waste time with extraneous matter. When I became easier to listen to, in fact, they were able to do a much better job of listening.

When my sons were younger, 8 and 10, my punishments were more sinister and machiavellian. If they were being disruptive or acting up in public, I would sing, usually something dreadful (to them) like “Edelweiss” from the Sound of Music. Just imagine your dad singing in the aisle at Safeway. They collapsed into a puddle of compliant material. Anything to get me to stop. Several times they pleaded with me to beat them instead. Less painful they argued.

Peter Stanwyck has 26 years of fatherhood experience, mostly in a positive co-parenting arrangement. Read more from Quora below: