Telling Them Off is Tough

mum telling little girl off

Telling your kids off isn’t nice at all, but sometimes, they need a stern word. How you discipline your children is very individual. Sometimes, I feel like we are getting it right…and sometimes, I think we need to seriously look at what we are doing.

Keeping it together when you're a parent is tough, even when everything is going well. Chuck in some borderline ASBO behaviour and suddenly, the stresses are amplified 100 fold.

What are the toughest things about telling your kids off though?

Keeping you cool

Trying to keep your cool when you are seriously tired, stressed and in the middle of an identity crisis can be really tough. Whilst your child repeatedly upsets their sibling or is doing something that is nails-on-chalk-board annoying, you can get really wound up.

Sometimes, you just need to take a breath. I always think that if I feel angry, I’m going to be angry and that just fuels the fire. The concept links to a behavioural model called Batari’s Box. It's pretty simple but makes total sense. Your attitude affects your behaviour which affects their attitude which affects their behaviour…and it goes round and round. Play it cool, you’ll get further.


Man, my default approach to managing my child’s behaviour is the age-old threat (that we both know I can’t and won’t be following through on.) IN the 900000 times I have used it, I can only say it has had the desired effect a handful of times. It distracts from the behaviour for a second or two, but quite quickly, we find ourselves back in the situation we were in, except I then have to make a worse threat.

I remember when I was a kid, when my mum and dad threatened me, I bricked it. Kids these days are totally different…or maybe I’m just not strict enough?

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Feeling bad

I hate telling the kids off. I mean, yesterday they dug a 3ft hole in the lawn when I thought they were playing nicely, so they deserved a telling off, but mostly, I feel bad when it comes to conflict.

I know they need to learn and sometimes it helps them to know what they’ve done wrong, but negativity isn’t great. I’m not one of those isry-fairy parents who don’t think you should tell your kids off (honestly, they’re feral as it is, without discipline, they’d be fully wild) but the last thing you want to do is keep on at them.


I hear my voice sometimes and just think, “Shut up” . I'm actually annoying myself with my pettiness. I’ve learnt that it is so important to pick your battles, in fairness, it’s what is keeping me almost sand at the moment!

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