How Do You Discipline a Child that Breaks Things?

August 11, 2023
August 11, 2023 Taneika Farmiloe

How Do You Discipline a Child that Breaks Things?

To navigate the challenging task of disciplining a child who breaks things, we sought advice from seven professionals, including business owners and HR professionals. Their insights range from teaching children to make amends to promoting collaborative problem-solving. Dive into this article to explore these diverse perspectives.

  • Teach Children to Make Amends
  • Role-Play for Emotional Insight
  • Encourage Open Communication
  • Implement Balanced Discipline
  • Understand, Empathize, and Set Boundaries
  • Hold Children Accountable
  • Promote Collaborative Problem-Solving

Teach Children to Make Amends

I teach parents the concept of “clean-ups,” which is teaching a child to make amends for something they have done that has been hurtful to someone else (such as intentionally breaking something).

A “clean-up” is a gesture that is done for someone else. A “clean-up” could look like doing a chore for a sibling, helping a parent clean the house, etc. Punishments rarely teach children a lesson, whereas “clean-ups” teach a child to make amends to others and teach reciprocity in relationships.

Ryan WexelblattRyan Wexelblatt
Owner, ADHD Dude

Role-Play for Emotional Insight

A lack of insight into the child’s emotional state might make dealing with a destructive child much more challenging. The ability to control one’s impulses is a skill that can be taught to children through role-playing potential scenarios.

That’s why it’s useful to have role-play and allow them to experience something comparable to what they would face in real life. Select situations in which you and your child have been involved, discuss what transpired, and reenact the scenario while offering more suitable alternatives.

Role-plays can help people understand each other better, and behavior can significantly improve.

Inez StanwayInez Stanway
Founder, MondayMandala

Encourage Open Communication

It is really important that you let your child explain the reason for their misbehavior. There are times when your child needs your attention and doesn’t know how to ask for it. As a parent, I always try to communicate with my kid whenever he is either trying to break something or throwing a tantrum in general.

Faizan KhanFaizan Khan
Public Relations and Content Marketing Specialist, Ubuy UK

Implement Balanced Discipline

Disciplining a child who breaks things requires a balanced and constructive approach.

First, it’s important to address the behavior calmly and assertively, emphasizing that breaking things is not acceptable. Engage in a conversation to understand the reasons behind their actions and provide guidance on appropriate behavior and consequences. Implement consistent consequences such as loss of privileges or a temporary time-out.

Finally, encourage the child to take responsibility by involving them in the process of repairing or replacing the broken item, teaching them the value of personal accountability.

Aviad FaruzAviad Faruz
CEO, Know Mastery

Understand, Empathize, and Set Boundaries

Disciplining a child who breaks things involves a balanced approach of understanding, empathy, and setting boundaries. Start by calmly discussing the incident with the child. Validate their feelings if the breakage occurred out of frustration, while reinforcing that breaking things isn’t a suitable way to express emotions.

Teach them about the value of belongings and the effort it takes to replace them. Introduce the concept of consequences by letting the child participate in fixing or replacing the item, if age-appropriate. Create a safe space where they can unleash their energy without causing harm.

Importantly, distinguish between accidental and intentional breakages. While both situations require addressing, their differences should be recognized. Accidents are opportunities to teach caution, whereas intentional breakages indicate deeper emotional concerns, requiring more nuanced handling.

Remember, patience and consistency are key!

Chad DavisChad Davis
Content Writer,

Hold Children Accountable

If your children break things, they need to be held accountable. As a parent, you teach your child how crucial things are and that it takes money to buy them. When your child breaks something, ask him or her to buy a replacement from the market. However, don’t provide the money. This approach will only work if your children are genuinely remorseful about their behavior; otherwise, they can ignore you.

The next time you go to the market, take your children with you. Whatever you buy, explain its importance to them. Your children can be held accountable for breaking things when you explain the significance of items in the house.

You should continue trying to make your children understand why breaking things is not acceptable. Hold them accountable for any damage they cause. You can also pretend to break their things to teach them how it hurts when someone breaks items that are important to them.

Saikat GhoshSaikat Ghosh
Associate Director of HR and Business, Technource

Promote Collaborative Problem-Solving

Through collaborative problem-solving, engage the child in discussions about alternative ways to handle objects to prevent breakage. Encourage critical thinking and cooperation.

This approach empowers the child to take ownership of their actions while fostering personal growth and decision-making skills. For example, sit down with the child, explain the consequences of breaking things, and ask for their ideas on avoiding future accidents. Encourage them to suggest alternative ways of playing or handling objects.

Together, brainstorm creative solutions and come up with mutually agreed-upon strategies. This method helps the child develop a sense of responsibility and reduces the likelihood of repeated incidents.

Jason CheungJason Cheung
Operations Manager, Credit KO

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