Toddler Discipline: The #1 Strategy of Parents Around the World

Suzanne Murray

time-out chairExperts agree that spanking is bad for kids, and while a lot of moms ignore that advice and the studies backing it up, many moms do choose alternative ways of disciplining their kids.

In fact, two recent surveys were done asking parents their preferred means of discipline: The CS Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health was done in the United States, and the Reader's Digest Global Survey had respondents from 16 countries around the world (including the US).

According to both surveys, the number-one way most parents discipline their kids: By talking to them.

In the CS Mott survey, these were the parents' top strategies:

  • 88% explain or reason with the child
  • 70% take away a privilege or something the child enjoys
  • 59% put a child in a time-out

According to that survey, the use of spanking varied depending on where in the US people live: Parents who live in the West (31%) and South (20%) are more likely to spank their children compared to parents in the Midwest (16%) and Northeast (6%).


In the Reader's Digest survey, these were the top strategies parents used:

  • Talking to the child
  • Taking away a privilege

According to that survey, sending kids to their rooms and spanking were the least favored choices of discipline in all but two countries. Among the respondents who favored physical punishment, men outnumbered women in every country except Canada, France, and India. Not a single woman in the United States expressed a preference for spanking.


I'm with everyone else -- my number-one discipline strategy is talking to my daughter. I think spanking is wrong under any circumstance, which fits in with the survey because I live in the Northeast.


What's your preferred means of disciplining your child? Where do you live?

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