Thank you for writing to www.education.com with your question regarding discipline. When working to help a young child develop appropriate behavior, you should attempt to link the consequence to the inappropriate behavior that has occurred. For instance, if a child has not followed your direction to turn off the television and come to the dinner table, his consequence could easily be a loss of television time later that day or the next. If a child stays up past his bed time it would be best to have him go to bed earlier the next night.
You don't mention the type of violence that has occurred. When a child engages in destructive behavior such as destroying his room or throwing toys, having him pick up the room or another room would be an appropriate consequence. If the child has been physically aggressive towards another person an appropriate consequences would be for the child to apologize and to perform some extra tasks for the person they have wronged.
In addition to a consequence it is very important that you set aside time to teach the appropriate behavioral alternative. Role plays or practices are a wonderful way to make sure that your child has an appropriate understanding of your expectations for his behavior and a great way to experience success. For example, if your child has been rough or destructive with material goods have him practice holding things gently or storing away his toys carefully. Explain in short clear steps how you would like for him handle the items and then ask him to demonstrate back to you what you have described. If during the practice session he is behaving according to the steps you indicated be sure to praise him as he is completing the practice. Praise will increase the chances that the child will behave the appropriate way the next time. Additional alternative to aggressive behaviors your could practice could include giving a compliment, asking to play with a toy rather than just grabbing it, talking in a quiet voice, walking slowly rather than running, listening, etc.
Hopefully, this answer has given you some food for thought. If you have additional questions about appropriate consequences, please don't hesitate to contact a trained parenting counselor at the Boys Town National Hotline at 1-800-448-3000, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
All children are unruly from time to time. However, violence should never be acceptable and occasionally is an indicator of an underlying health problem.
Children need to know what is expected of them, and what are the limits. Most children do not want to get into trouble, so as long as they know their boundaries their behaviors should be "within normal limits."