Many parents choose to take away their childâ??s favourite toys or televison as a method of discipline. But does taking away childrenâ??s privileges work?

Disciplining your child is never easy. As a parent you want your children to be well-behaved, young individuals.

Taking away childrenâ??s privileges can be a very effective discipline strategy

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

It works well for school-age children and teenagers alike. Itâ??s important to make the removal of privileges part of a behaviour management plan.

Taking away childrenâ??s privileges appropriately

When their behaviour doesnâ??t warrant an extra privilege, take away the privilege. Then when their behaviour improves, allow them to gain the privilege back.

Privileges should be those extra things that children earn

This could mean restricting activities, taking away items or possessions, or “grounding.” But, like all discipline techniques – it doesn’t work for every child and it isn’t always appropriate. It can also be overused and lose its effectiveness.

Choose carefully which privilege to take away from a child

If you take away a privilege that a child does not really care about, it wonâ??t really be a negative consequence. So it is important to pick something that is really going to bother your child. 

For example, my son seldom watches television but loves playing with his PSP. Restricting his television viewing just isn’t a deterrent or even a reasonable restriction for him. He doesn’t care and it doesn’t have any value to him. Taking way his PSP is much more powerful.

Set a time limit

Timing should be carefully considered in using the removal of privileges as a discipline technique. How long is reasonable and effective? The length of time should be connected to the severity of the infraction. But it should also be something that you can reasonably enforce as the parent. 

Sometimes parents make the mistake of taking away privileges for too long

For example, taking away a privilege â??until I can trust you againâ? or â??until I say you can have it backâ?, can cause children to lose motivation and can make them feel frustrated by the lack of clarity. 

When you take away a privilege, be clear about when it can be earned again

Usually, 24 hours is enough time to remove a privilege in order for it to be an effective consequence. There are so many unpredictable opportunities for you to lose your focus and commitment that it is far better to have a shorter duration that you follow-through on, than to issue a longer punishment and then ease up.

For more tips see Dealing with stubbornness in children and Getting your children to eat vegetables.